Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trunk or Treat

Sarah and I participated in Trunk or Treat at our church again this year. The theme for our trunk this year was "Mad Scientists." As you can see from the pictures, we had a fun and crazy time turning our jeep into a laboratory. Sarah told all the kids that I had lost my marbles and they had to find them and put them back in the jar. If they did, they got candy.
Participation was down from last year...probably because of recent events in our church. We'd sure like to see folks get behind this as an event for the community. It could really be spectacular (or is that spooktacular) if everyone would pitch in and help. Sarah and I did our part this year and even threw alot of ideas in the ring. Kent built a maze out of cardboard boxes that was a big hit. We've just got to find a way to get people involved. Sarah had a great idea to boost participation by offering great prizes for the best trunk. Unfortunately the whole thing got lost in the shuffle of the transition weirdness at church. We still offered prizes (Taproot tickets, Olive Garden and Starbucks gift certificates) and I guess we'll find out who won on Sunday. I think they let the kids pick. Zack told us that he voted us third because we had spiders (doesn't like them) and weird eyeball candy (apparently doesn't like those either). At least he knows what he likes. My money's on Jellybean the clown. Her trunk was very popular. Her balloon creations were a big hit!
So, another Trunk or Treat has passed. My hope is that we can get our ducks in a row and really grow this thing for next year.
Yeah, I like Halloween. Can you tell?

Trick or Treat!

Well, as promised, here's my little treat for all you happy people. I wanted to finish a Halloween poem I had been working on but it just didn't happen. Here's the substitute. This really should be posted under Mart History but I'll make an exception this once since not many people visit my Mart History page anyway. Heck, I probably don't update it enough to warrant a visit anyway but...well...that's neither here nor there. On with the show!
This little drawing is actually a group of paint chips like you'd get at Lowe's to figure out what color you want your wall to be. A few years ago, I found that I liked the slick surface and that it was fun to draw and paint on them with a Sharpie and some paint pens. Well, it was fun for a bit until the paint pens dried up. I bought some more pens and they dried up as well. Paint pens just do not hold up very well and since they are very expensive, it just wasn't worth doing anymore.
These little guys were part of that brief experiment with paint chips. I just found myself drawing all the classic monsters of Hollywood history. Then I thought it would be funny to line them up like the Brady Bunch. Then I came up with the idea of calling it The 'Fraidy Bunch. Then I got an idea for a comic strip or comic book. Then...well...I got frustrated and bored with the whole thing so I stopped. Maybe one day I'll resurrect The 'Fraidy Bunch. I think I could do the idea justice with paint. Shoot! Now I'm thinking about it again.
Well...anyway...Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Check in later. I may have a special Halloween treat for you. Or maybe a trick. Mwa-ha-ha!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What's Goin' On!

Here's an update on all things Marty.
First of all, yesterday was the last day for our pastor Milt. He and his wife Barbie are headed to Amarillo for a new chapter of ministry. Their son Pat, our worship leader, is headed to California to continue his education. Our youth minister's last Sunday was a couple of weeks ago. So, as you can see, transitional days are ahead for our church. Yesterday was a day of mixed feelings for Sarah and I. Milt and Barbie were at NW Church for 29 years. We knew them (barely) for 1 of those years. It was strange to be so disconnected from the feelings of loss shared by the congregation. We'll miss them but we still feel so new to that church. In a way, I'm glad we weren't able to attend the send off banquet last night. I think it might have been a bit awkward for us. We, unlike so many folks around us, have no tears to shed.
And now on to the health report. I did my fast and my two days of bland food. I've now spent a week eating an essentially alkaline heavy diet (as opposed to acidic) and it seems to be working. I have experienced a significantly lower level of gas and very little, if any, discomfort. The only problem with all of this is having to give up some foods that I like but aren't good for me. Oh well. I guess my health is more important than Diet Coke.
Finally, the best news of all. I got an email from the owner of the cafe in Wallingford where my work is displayed this month. I sold 2 pieces with no commission and she wants me to leave my stuff up a bit longer. I will head over tomorrow to replace the pieces sold and pick up the money. That is so great because I have some stuff I need to buy to get ready for my next show in Edmonds. I finally received the sample prints and they look great so I'm going to order more. I'm also going to buy a portable print rack, some more business cards, and perhaps some more frames. All that money is going back into the art but there's great potential for more sales in the future because I can sell the prints for an affordable price.
So, that's about it. We've got a busy week ahead with work, prep for art shows, Christmas musical rehearsals, memory work for the rehearsals, and preparing for Trunk or Treat at our church on Halloween night.
Wow! That's alot. I'd better get crackin'.

Groovelily: Striking 12

Last night, Sarah and I travelled to Tacoma to see Groovelily perform their show Striking 12. It's the 4th time I have seen them but the first time seeing this particular show. The first 3 times I saw them they were more like concerts...just performing individual songs. Somewhere along the way, GL began venturing into the world of musical theatre. (Thanks, no doubt, to Brendan's education in...GASP...musical theatre!) Striking 12 is, I believe, the first show they developed. The story revolves around a grumpy guy refusing to party on New Year's Eve, a girl selling lightbulbs, and Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl. It's an amazing show. If you have a chance to see it, don't hesitate. If all you can do is buy the CD and listen to it, do it. Do it now! It's worth it!
Since our friend Debbie was attending the show with us, we met her and ate dinner with her and her husband Jeff. We ate at a Thai place called Wild Orchid. It was very good! We then dropped Jeff off and picked up Deb's friend Ed since he was the one actually going to the show. We arrived at the theatre only to find that someone had picked up my tickets which were under my name. It all worked out in the end since we didn't want to be in the front row anyway. Sarah and Debbie had done a show at the theatre and the front row is way too close to the stage. So, we ended up 4th row center. Very nice. We looked for the people who had nabbed my tickets but they weren't sitting in the front row. Darn. I was gonna bean them on the head with Ed's gigantic belt buckle. That thing was as big as a hubcap.
The show went on and we had a great time. The band was in top form and I think we all held a smile on our face throughout the evening. They are such talented folks. I'm so glad they are doing well.
After the show, they did a drawing for a free CD. We didn't win. We decided to hang out and talk to the band a bit. Debbie wanted to talk to them about the licensing of the show for theatres to mount their own productions. We're hoping Taproot will become interested. We chatted with Val and Gene for a few minutes and then headed out.
They are going to be doing the show in Seattle in December. (more info on their website) I'm not sure if we can go but we might try. We're big fans and it's a great show.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Gone South by Robert R. McCammon
"Gone South. In Vietnam Vet's parlance, it means screwed-up, crazy. In the Deep South of the United States, it means dead.
Dan Lambert's experiences in Vietnam have left him no stranger to psychological wounds or death. Years later, they have also left him divorced, broke, unemployed---and on the run. For Dan, to his shock and his shame, has become a murderer.
There is a $15,000 reward on his head---a reward that two weird bounty hunters will stop at nothing to get: a reward that doesn't interest the brutally disfigured Arden Halliday. For Arden is after a different prize---one that she hopes to find deep in the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Joining forces, Arden and Lambert head south---he to hide and she to seek. Yet there they will both become discoverers---of the dregs of American society, bloody violence, drug smuggling---and a curious destiny."*

I first read this book quite a few years ago. McCammon is one of my favorite writers and, in my mind, kicked Stephen King's butt quite a few times. He is great at blending the natural and the supernatural at a level that teeters between believability and folklore. That's not to say everything he's written is grand but Boy's Life continues to be in my list of top 5 fave books of all time. But enough of that. On to Gone South.
This is a strange book. It starts off normal enough but as the story goes deeper into the swamps of Louisiana, it gets deeply strange. At the heart of the story is Dan Lambert, a down-on-his-luck, terminally ill, Vietnam vet. To McCammon's credit, you pull for Lambert even though he is on the run for a crime he clearly committed. You actually invest yourself in quite a few of the characters in this book. Strange though they are, you find yourself hoping for the best to happen to them. You want them to catch a break.
Be warned. This is a gritty book with plenty of gory, over-the-top action. It's an ugly story to be sure but it's got a beautiful ending. Perhaps a bit trite, but beautiful nonetheless.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I've Joined Scrapiteria

Scrapiteria is "made up of collagists who work in the traditional cut and paste method. Each week, one of the members posts a new theme which we all intrepret in our own way."
I'm really looking forward to contributing to this community. I feel like it will be fun but also challenge me to be productive and creative when I'm feeling less than motivated. Also, it's nice to be involved with a community of artists again.
See you later. I've got to put a new blade in my X-Acto Knife. I've got work to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting Better All The Time

I'm on the third day of my fast/alkalizing diet. The goal, quite simply, was to clean out my body and start over. As you know, the first day I fasted completely drinking only water. The second and third days have been filled with the less than delightful consumption of bland soup, veggies, almonds and bananas. There aren't a lot of choices on the alkalinic foods list and, unfortunately, I don't like many of the choices already. The result so far has been that I do feel better. I am still gassy at times but there's been no pressure or bloating. My guess is that I've just been normal gassy but it's been so long since I've experienced it I don't know what normal looks like anymore. It's nice to not have the pressure anymore. I hesitate to use the word pain since it wasn't particularly painful. Instead, I would describe it as a discomfort that saps my focus. Yesterday, I actually felt like I could focus on a task. Last night's rehearsal for the Christmas musical at church was the first time I have been able to enjoy the process because I wasn't experiencing the discomfort. Tonight, we're going to see The Importance of Being Earnest with friends. We are going to eat at Gordito's which serves wonderful, healthy burritos. I don't know what's going to happen when I introduce real food into my system but I am going to be careful and take it slow. I know my stomach has shrunk and I've lost another 10 lbs or so. (I weighed 258 in March. This morning I weigh about 230.) I will eat slow and try to sense when I am full. We'll see what happens.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life in the Fast Lane

I am fasting today in an attempt to rid myself of the evil H. Pylori bacteria that have been plaguing my system. Doctors have been no help at all so I've been doing research on the internet. Sarah and I figured this approach may work but if it doesn't it won't hurt me. After the 24 hour fast, I will eat alkalinic foods for 2 days. Basically that means fruit and veggies. This approach worked for someone on the internet. I hope it works for me.
Since I've had this problem, I've dropped some weight but that's a good thing. The weight loss is due to eating differently in the hopes of improving my health. I've dropped between 15-20 lbs since March but most of it has come off in the past 3 months. I feel better in that respect but the whole gastro thing robs me of my focus and affects my mood. Everything in my life has suffered because of it. I want to feel better. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cat in the Box

Our cat Mickey loves boxes.

Piano Update

Somebody trashed the piano that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. I went by the next day (after the weird Standup Kirk Man did his filming) and it was completely gutted. As Droopy used to say, "You know what? That makes me mad." Some of the folks in the neighborhood were getting a kick out of that piano being there and someone had to go and destroy it. I'll bet it was Standup Kirk Man. The piano was in one piece when I saw him there. My theory is that he destroyed it and filmed the whole thing as some stupid art piece.
Stupid, flaky artists.

Attack of the Dippin' Dots

As I mentioned before, it hailed today. When I went upstairs at the theatre to start vacuuming, I could see that the hail had done a number on my beautifully swept sidewalk. Also, it just poured down rain and the street in front of the theatre flooded so the sidewalks look especially nice with all the leaves and mud and little Dippin' Dot shaped hail. (Sarah shot this pic out of our apartment window of the festive Halloween house across the street)
Yesterday wind, today hail...tomorrow I'm expecting frogs.

A Mighty Wind

Yesterday, Sarah and I stopped by Edmonds to check out where my art is going to be next month. Just as we were arriving, a huge wind kicked up and kept kicking. It was very strong. As we left to head home, streets that were clean when we arrived were covered in debri. You should have seen the whitecaps on Puget Sound. It was nuts. There was a big tree branch down this morning as I walked into work. The weather is weird. Right now, we're in a thunderstorm and I've just been informed that it's hailing. Grand!
This morning I was met with an email asking if my family was okay. It seems Pensacola was hit by a series of tornadoes yesterday. I have been in touch with everyone and they are okay but I'm sure it was pretty scary. I watched a video on YouTube that showed transformers exploding as the storm passed in the distance. Wild!
One of my friends responded with, "I'm not sure what happened .... but I've met a kindly tin man .... and a timid lion .... and a funny scarecrow and we are going to see the wizard! Oh, I do miss Auntie M!!"
Smart ass! I love it!

Collage Clearinghouse

Julie put up a nice little blurb about me over at Collage Clearinghouse. Thanks a bunch, Julie! And I'm right next to Yayoi Kusama. Nice!
This is a site that I will definitely be visiting frequently. If you are into collage at all, check it out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Recently, the thrift store near the theatre closed it's doors for good. As a result, for whatever reason, an upright piano was left outside of the vacant building. I have seen one man playing it and some friends of ours who attended the Pay What You Can performance at the theatre said that some folks had an impromptu band going that night and that they sounded good.
As I was walking home today, I passed the piano and there was a man standing there with a camera on a tripod. As I got closer, I realized it was a video camera and he was talking into it. Next to the piano (I'm assuming he set it up) was a cardboard standup of William Shatner as Captain Kirk circa the 1960's. The man (assuming again) had decked Kirk out with sunglasses, a scarf, and a shawl. I think there were other things but I couldn't get a close enough look. So, there's this guy videotaping a Kirk standup next to an abandoned piano while narrating into the camera.
You can't make stuff like this up, folks. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'. Welcome to Seattle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Small World After All

Last night, Sarah and I finally got to go to the The Kindlings Muse, a radioshow/podcast that's recorded live at a restaurant nearby. Our friend Jeff Berryman was on the panel for a discussion of the life of "The Artist's Life." It was a good discussion in a good atmosphere with high-priced mediocre quality food. We sat with Jeff's wife Anjie and Candice, wife of Sam who was also on the panel. The last panelist was filmmaker Rick Stevenson whose latest film Expiration Date sounds intriguing.
As we were waiting for it to start, I turned and saw our friend Nikki entering with a guy that looked more than familiar. About that time, our friend and coworker Laurel came over and since she was sitting with Nikki I asked her if she knew if the guy's name was Jay. She said she would find out. Eventually she turned and nodded that his name was indeed Jay. Knowing for sure who he was then, I proceeded to the table. Nikki hugged me and started to introduce me to him when I turned and said, "This is Jay." I then looked at him and asked if he remembered me. It took him a second but he finally figured it out. We worked together at Summersalt youth camp in SC about 10 years ago. It totally freaked me out to see someone from my past way out here in Seattle. That hasn't happened to me yet.
As it turns out, he works at the church Nikki goes to as a pastoral intern. The show started so I went back to my table but I caught up with him afterward to catch up a bit more. I'm hoping we can have him to dinner and to see a show at Taproot sometime.
Another cool thing about the night was talking to Anjie and Candice between segments. We all talked about the artist's life and Anjie was so sweet to say that she admired Sarah and I for following our hearts and pursuing the life of the artist. It's nice to hear that sometimes because the life of the artist is quite different. We are, more often than not, tired, frustrated and broke. But when you feel deep down inside that it's the only thing you were born to do, you've got to do it. If you don't, you're opening up a long path of miserable days. Believe me. I've been down that path already.
So, financially set and miserable with your vocation or financially struggling and happy with your vocation. I have to choose the latter.

Monday, October 15, 2007


The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
"It's a hot August morning in 1963. All over the rural town of Grandville, tacked to power poles and trees, taped to store windows, flyers have appeared announcing the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show. The promised highlight of the show is the gorgeous Valeria, the only living vampire in captivity.
For three local teenagers, two boys and a girl, this is a show they can't miss. Even though the flyers say no one under eighteen will be admitted, they're determined to find a way. What follows is a story of friendship and courage, temptation and terror, when three friends go where they shouldn't go, and find much more than they ever expected."*
I first read this book a few years ago. It's a total guilty pleasure read for me. There are no redeeming values to the book whatsoever. I can't recommend it to anyone. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the ending is way over the top and would have been happier with one that was a bit toned down. But I like the book. It's fun. The build up to the end follows the three teens through a fairly classic (albeit thru Laymon's warped lens) coming-of-age tale. It's a fun read for me being a big fan of coming-of-age stories. And I thought it would be a great pre-Halloween read. It was.
I started October with a viewing of To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck's Atticus. We have also watched Something Wicked This Way Comes, a wicked little movie with a great villian played with perfection by Jonathan Pryce. Perhaps I should round out the month with a re-reading of the The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale and Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon. The latter is in my top 5 favorite books of all time. And like Ray Bradbury says in Something Wicked This Way Comes,

"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn't begun yet. July, well, July's really fine: there's no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June's best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September's a billion years away.
But you take October, now. School's been on a month and you're riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you'll dump on old man Prickett's porch, or the hairy-ape costume you'll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it's around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bed sheets around corners."

And Ray should know. He is, after all, the oldest boy on the planet.

Mel, You Are Missed

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Well, all the speculation and wondering is at an end...sort of. Our pastor resigned this morning. He is taking a position at a church in Amarillo, TX where he will also be doing work with Christian Relief Fund. He's been at NW Church for 29 years so, needless to say, there were some tears.
For the past several months, he's been on sabbatical for health and personal reasons. During that time, there have been letters read from the pulpit, wondering whispers and perhaps even more than a little gossip. Sarah and I have not been in the loop and still pretty much feel like newcomers. We've gleaned info from here and there, mostly so Sarah could pray for the situation. (it's one of her gifts) Without causing a stir, I finally found the answers I was seeking just the other night. My concern was fairly selfish. I have been through alot of crap in the church and don't really want to go through anymore right now. My only selfless concern was to make sure that the ministers affected were being treated well. Too many times I have seen people thrown out on their ear and treated like dirt. I myself have been in that position so I'm pretty sensitive about it. My fears were laid to rest somewhat. Most of my questions hinged on trust issues. We are so new to the church we have no idea if the leadership of the church can be trusted to do the right thing. I was told that they could be. I trust the source of this info so I feel better about the situation now.
To add to the mix, our youth minister and worship leader have also resigned in the past month so we are going to be down 3 staff positions for who knows how long. I'm sure many are concerned for the future of the church. I am also...just a bit. But the sense that I get about the situation from watching and listening is that the intitial transition time will be difficult but the end result is going to be positive. I truly hope so. Sarah and I looked for a church for a long time. I don't want to have to look again.
Truth be told, there's not much out there to choose from.

Art Walk Update

Last night was my opening at the Forum Center during the Ballard Art Walk. We had a good crowd between 7 and 8 but it tapered off after that. My host and sponsor for the event, Andrew of Re/Max Realty, had wine, soda, and snacks laid out as we arrived. Sarah prepared her famous homemade salsa which went over real well. Andrew turned on some music and we were ready. Bring on the crowds!
The first hour brought quite a few enthusiastic folks through the space. I received many compliments and answered questions about how the work is created. Ted from my old writer's group (I had to quit to concentrate on the art thing) stopped by. He's an amazing guy. He has done so many cool things in his life and knows or has known so many interesting people. (Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby, Gerry Conway, and on and on) He was updating me on his book release. He's written a pictorial history of the Greenwood/Phinney neighborhood and it will be out in January. As he told me story after story about the neighborhood and his career I told him he should write his biography. I'm sure it would be a fantastic read.
Lindsey from On The House stopped by. She informed me that there have been some setbacks in the art show program at OTH so my show in November may not happen. At this point, I'm not counting on it.
Later in the night we met Tom and Lisa. He's an artist and she's a writer. We talked to them for a long time. That's one of the things I like about doing these events. It gives me a chance to talk to other artists. Bob, who was there when I hung the show on Friday, also stopped by for a few minutes. I've encouraged him to get his art on the web even if he just throws it all up on a Blogger page like I have. He makes these interesting polymer sculptures w/ lights that shine up through the center. Very cool!
A couple of friends from Taproot stopped by. Nikki dropped by with a friend and encouraged me with her laughter at my work. Just as we were getting ready to clean up, Chris and Laurel came in with a burst of youthful energy. As we old fogies were getting ready to head home, their night was just beginning.
All in all, it was an enjoyable night. I'd like to have seen more people come through but...small moves, Marty. Small moves. A big thank you to Andrew for the opportunity. He is a big supporter of upcoming artists, a modern day patron of sorts. That's a rare find in this day and age. Final thanks go to my lovely wife Sarah for being my biggest supporter, my muse, and the best salsa maker I know. I couldn't do any of it without her.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Good Reviews

Here's another good review for Sarah's costume designs for The Importance of Being Earnest.

"Even more impressive were the gorgeous costumes by Sarah Burch Gordon. This was so critical to creating the extravagance and style of this period, and of this elegant comedy of manners."

Sarah reminded me last night that I had told her a while back that with this show she was daring the critics not to notice her costumes. Well, she got some notice and it's about time. Too many times critics just go on and on about the sets and the actors and the direction. Don't they know it's all about the costumes?
If you want to read the full article, go here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ballard Art Walk

I'm leaving in a few minutes to go hang this show. I'm really excited that I actually have openings and such to look forward to. If you're in the Seattle area, come hang out for a bit. It should be fun and if it's not, you can eat, drink and be merry in the corner.
I have recently ordered supplies and samples to see if selling prints of my work will be lucrative or not. Here's hoping there's financial gain to be had in the near future. Let's make this art work for me. The journey continues.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Go here to see our contribution to Found Magazine.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Zombies and Southern Baptists

This morning, I did a little impromptu consulting work for one of the actors involved in present show. It seems he's play a Baptist minister in a zombie movie called Zombies of Mass Destruction that's being filmed around here. He said it was actually his second zombie film this summer. Wow! Who knew the Pacific NW was such a mecca for zombie films.
Anyway, he was trying to get a handle on some things about his character and asked me some questions about Baptist stuff. He felt as though the screenwriters had gotten some things wrong and he was right. Here are a couple of examples.
What do Baptists call their ministers? I told him that it's usually Pastor So-and-So, Dr. So-and-So, or Brother So-and-So. He asked about Reverend and I told him about the difference in ordination and education.
Do Baptists believe in the "earning of salvation?" Apparently that terminology was used in the script. I told him that that wasn't very Baptist because they usually believe in grace.
Do Baptists play bingo? I told him no and that got a big response from some of the other actors around. Apparently he had asked them and they said the same thing I did. Then we agreed that there was a natural progression for the apocalypse as follows: First zombies, then bingo and finally hell.
He also wanted to know some stuff about eschatology but I told him that I was a pan-millenialist; that I believe it will all pan out. Actually I just told him that there were lots of different views and that I didn't participate in any of them because if you get bogged down in all that you forget about the here and now. I also told him about the difference between a pastor and a preacher and that I had never met anyone who was good at both. He felt like the character in the film was an okay pastor, just trying to take care of the flock and save them from the zombies. That's all any pastor can do really.
So, that was my experience consulting. I felt good about my efforts to build a bridge between the Southern Baptists and the mindless shuffling zombies of the apocalypse.
Truth be told, it's a short bridge.

North Seattle Community College Art Show

Sarah and I popped in the to check out the art show we're involved with at North Seattle Community College. The show looks great and there was quite a good crowd there for an afternoon. We couldn't stay long since Sarah had to get back to work but I met some artists and networked a bit. I think I may go back this evening for the first part of the second reception before I head to my rehearsal at church. I'm not much good at schmoozin' but if a little bit of that is what it's going to take to get my name circulating, let the schmoozin' begin.
Actually, that word is quite negative and what I am doing is quite positive. It would be wonderful to feel like I was part of the artistic community in Seattle in some way. Perhaps this is a good way to get my foot in the door.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Do or Die List for Artists

Here's a little common sense wisdom for us artists from the Art News Blog.

  • Learn to like noodles from packets as you probably won't have much spare cash to buy real food for at least a few years.
  • Have at least a couple artist friends so that you're not always the only weird creative person in the room.
  • Find a psychologist or a good shoulder to cry on before you start creating art as it will bring up a lot of stuff.
  • Inspiration is found in the studio while you are working. If you sit around waiting for inspiration before you start creating you will have about 15 paintings finished when you're 60.
  • Never listen to the criticism of family and friends, especially if they're not an artist or gallery owner.
  • Don't take criticism personally. It's not an attack on you as a person (unless it's from a petty little person that needs to put others down to feel important).
  • Don't expect to be "discovered".
  • It's OK to steal from other artists, as long as you don't remain a parrot.
  • Learn about business, marketing, taxes, media, and start your own website.
  • Work with the best quality art materials available and don't expect art collectors to buy your cheaply made art that will only last a few years before falling apart.
  • Being an artist is a privilege. Don't feel sorry for yourself or other artists that are "struggling".. feel sorry for people working in jobs that they hate.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Importance of Being Sarah

My wife Sarah has been working her tail off to make spectacular costumes for The Importance of Being Earnest. They are quite stunning and I can't wait to see them on stage in the context of the play. I'm happy to see that she's getting some attention for her work. Here's part of an article from the Queen Anne News. (Full article here)

"Costumes by Sarah Burch Gordon are beautiful and wonderfully matched to the characters. The male leads are vested, jewel or flower bedecked dandies, the height of elegance for poseurs of the period. Lady Bracknell epitomizes upper class respectability and fashion with sumptuously colored, layered silk dresses that give testimony to her money as well as her class. Her hats are minor masterworks, with whole birds, feathers and a variety of other ornamental enhancements. And young Cecily is a delectable, frothy pink, confection ... perfectly attired for her character."

All too often, only the direction, acting and scene work is lauded in the local reviews. It's nice to see Sarah get some deserved praise. She is uber-talented. Way to go, baby!

Friday, October 05, 2007


There was one little thing in The Amber Spyglass that resonated with me. In the dialogue, Will is talking to Mary about when she stopped believing in God.

"Did you miss God?" asked Will.
"Yes," Mary said, "terribly. And I still do. And what I miss most is the sense of being connected to the whole of the universe. I used to feel I was connected to God like that, and because he was there, I was connected to the whole of creation. But if he's not there, then..."

and a few pages later, Mary ponders...

"When she'd been a Christian, she had felt connected, too; but when she left the Church, she felt loose and free and light, in a universe without purpose."

I understand this. Since the beginnings of my Crisis of Faith, I have gradually begun to feel disconnected. And I do miss God...terribly. Also, in the wake of my recent health issues I have found that I don't have the security about death that I used to have. It can be pretty scary. I don't want to feel this way but it's the way I feel right now.


The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials Book III by Philip Pullman
"In the astonishing finale to the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra and Will are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent Amber Spyglass. An assassin hunts her down, and Lord Asriel, with a troop of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, in a battle of strange allies—and shocking sacrifice.
As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living—and the dead—finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story."*
Whew! I finally finished. Now I can move on to something else. Thank goodness. I didn't enjoy this book. Whoever classified this trilogy as children's literature is on crack...or I'm just dumb as dirt. Maybe it's a little of both. Well, whatever the truth may be, I just didn't get it. I don't feel too bad because my wife didn't get it either and she's alot smarter than I am. I'll be interested to see the movies. Maybe they will make more sense. I know there are books out there that explain what it's all about but if I have to read a book to understand another book, count me out. I don't have that kind of time. Reading is an escape for me. Reading this book wasn't an escape for me. I felt trapped in it and I didn't think I would ever get out.

An Omelette as Big as Your Head!

Yesterday, after work, Sarah and I embarked on some errand running. She had been out shopping for the Christmas show so she picked me up and I joined her. As we made our way to Goodwill she asked if the oil gauge should be sitting on zero. I said, "I don't think so" since I know zilch about cars but it seems to me that no oil pressure equals a problem. When we arrived at Goodwill I checked the oil and it was pretty dry. I wasn't even registering on the dipstick. After Goodwill, we drove to Jiffy Lube where I had the oil changed just a month ago. They told me there was a leak somewhere but that they couldn't fix it. They recommended a garage, topped us off and we went straight there. The garage is owned by a fellow named Misha, a very nice man with a Slavic accent. He diagnosed the problem in less than 5 minutes (broken oil pressure switch) and told us he'd have it fixed in an hour.
To kill time, Sarah and I walked up the road to The Original Pancake House on 15th in Ballard/Crown Hill so she could grab a bite. They were about to close at 2:30 but it's was 2 so we had time. I wasn't hungry so I just ordered some pancakes. Sarah ordered the veggie omelette w/ pancakes and hash browns. As we waited for the food, we noticed the odd decor which was a mix of wood paneling, plates displayed on shelves near the ceiling (if there's a name for that, I don't know what it is), and various modern art posters. It gave the impression of highbrow white trash come to town. The food finally came and the omelette was huge! She has eaten on it for 3 meals I think. My short stack of pancakes was massive. I couldn't eat it all. The syrup was very tasty!
We finished up and hiked back to the garage. Misha had us all fixed up and ready to go. I took a card since I intend to use Misha again in the future. A good mechanic is worth his weight in gold. We finished all of our errands except one that requires a trip downtown and headed home.
And you thought your day was exciting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Down in the Dumps II

I can't remember when this happened but I think it was during my time at seminary with some overlap after I graduated and lived in Birmingham. After my dad retired he went through a phase of driving around collecting cardboard and taking it to the recycling place for money. At one time, the money was good. He would collect several days a week and make several hundred dollars for his efforts. I don't remember how long he did it but it was for quite a while. Whenever I was home for a visit I would usually go with him just to spend time with him and to make a little bit of money for myself. I used to climb right into the dumpster and throw the cardboard out to him.
The best part of the whole deal was the stuff you would find amidst the cardboard. I can't remember everything but highlights include a Calvin Klein wallet, a bunch of neckties, and toys. Some businesses knew my dad was coming so they would save their cardboard for him. He got pretty tight with the ladies at one Tuesday Morning store. Sometimes they would even put loot aside for him.
As time went on, the price of recycled cardboard went down and it wasn't worth my dad's time to do it anymore. Also, they moved out into the country about 20 minutes outside of Pensacola so it wasn't worth the drive either.
So there you have it. A brief history of my dumpster diving experiences. For those of you who thought you were going to hear a tale of homelessness and despair, I apologize. Instead, you were treated to a tale of white trash innovation. Only in America, bubba!

Halloween Movie Marathon

This Halloween I wanted to do something special so I'm only going to watch Halloweenish movies for the whole month. Sarah can't handle the intense fright and gore of modern horror flicks so we'll be watching some old flicks like The Wolf Man and some scary comedies like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. If you have any recommendations, let me know.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Down in the Dumps

As promised, here is the chronicle of Marty Gordon: Dumpster Diver!
The first experience happened while in seminary. It wasn't so much a dumpster dive but a free-for-all collection of all things junk. The Company (Southwestern's drama team) used to do a piece called One Man's Trash. I really don't remember the particulars of the content but to pull it off we would transform the stage into a junk heap. That meant driving around looking for good junk to put on stage. When we did it at the seminary, I remember pulling up in front of a house to grab a couple of mattresses that were lying by the side of the road. As I was manhandling the mattresses, a little boy came out of the front door. I asked him if it was okay if I took them and he said, "Sure. We don't want them anymore since my brother peed all over them." Needless to say, I dropped the mattresses and went on my merry way.
Once our masterpiece of garbage was built on stage, most of the troupe donned their best homeless gear and found a hiding place amongst the trash. You see, the big surprise of the performance was that all these homeless people were hiding in the trash unbeknownst to the watching audience. When we did it at the seminary, I was laying flat on my back right behind the podium covered in newspaper. I had to lay perfectly still for a good 30 - 45 minutes until it was time for our performance. It was tough! Then, for whatever dumb reason, I hid a partially eaten doughnut in the trash so I could find it and eat it on stage. Well, I think the whole thing got too real for me and the doughnut made me sick to my stomach.
We also did this same piece at a church in Oklahoma. For that one, we had to do it for both Sunday morning services. That meant hiding out well before the first service began, coming out for the first service, retreating straight back to the hiding place and not coming out again until after the second service. I chose a refrigerator box with a door cut into the back as my hiding place. I sat in there and slowly started to realize that I had to pee really bad. I didn't know what to do. When we came out for the first service performance, as I was heading back into the box I grabbed a large Big Gulp cup out of the trash. (Someone brought a real trash can on stage full of trash. I rummaged through that thing and found some moldy Spam. Gag a maggot!) I took the cup with me back into the box and proceeded to try and get up the nerve to pee in the cup in the middle of a worship service. I kept thinking, "No, I can't. Somebody will hear it. Or they'll smell it. What if I do it? What do I do with the cup after church is over?" My guilt and shame overwhelmed my need to pee so I held it. After the second service was over, myself and several others of the homeless took off running down the aisle to the nearest bathroom. Ah, the pause that refreshes. If any of you Company folk have anything to add to this story, have at it.
I think I'll save my other story for a later date. I think you all need to reflect on this one for a while.

House Call

Today at noon, Brenda and Wendy from North Seattle Community College came over to look at our art for a show in their gallery. They ended up taking 8 of mine (that's all I could spare because I have 2 other shows this month) and 12 of Sarah's. They were quite funny trying to pick out the ones they wanted to take.
The show will begin on Tuesday, October 9th with receptions that day from 1 to 3 and 6 to 8. Sarah and I hope to make at least one of the receptions but I'm not sure which one it will be at this point.
This Saturday, I hang another show at Candles Cafe in Wallingford. Next week, I hang the Ballard Art Walk show and the reception will be Saturday, October 13th from 6 to 9 pm at the Forum Center in Ballard. For more info on this event, go here.