Sunday, July 29, 2007

Frye Art Museum

Sarah and I visited the Frye Art Museum today. Lately I've been feeling like I've been making too much art without seeing any art. Since there was an exhibition of works by Willie Cole I wanted to see, we went.
I first saw Willie Cole's work at the MOMA in NY in 1998. The first work of his I saw was his iron prints. He takes irons (yes, ironing clothes irons) and does scorch prints with them. They are amazing. They had a few of those works at the Frye but they also had some of his sculpture. While the sculpture didn't thrill me like the iron prints (I am a printmaker at heart) I did appreciate them. What Cole has done is take ordinary objects and "He transforms throwaway and time-textured objects—such as irons, ironing boards, blow dryers, high-heeled shoes, lawn jockeys, bicycle parts, and other discarded domestic appliances and hardware—into powerful and iconic artworks, granting them new vitality and metaphorical meaning."* The metaphors are strong and most have to do with African art and statements on racism and the black experience. I really love the show and will probably go back.
Another artist on exhibit there is David C. Kane. His art grew on me as I looked at it. I love his flying saucer imagery. I think I will have to go back and look at his stuff again.
This Thursday I think Sarah and I are going to take advantage of the Artwalk downtown and the free admission to the Seattle Art Museum. I am making a lot of art and it's drying up my creative well. It's time to fill it up again.

Image: Branded Irons by Willie Cole, 2000. 4 scorched plywood panels, 84 x 84 in.Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, NY.

Marty's Art News

One week from today is the beginning of my show at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse in Shoreline. I will spend the week framing the 34 pieces I have selected for the show.
Twilight contacted me today about having a show at the Hotwire in West Seattle. These locations are nowhere near each other and the one in West Seattle is in an area that has an ArtWalk. I think it will be in January.
Twilight has also asked if Sarah wants to do a show. If she agrees it will probably be sometime in the new year. I'll keep you posted.
I will be sending 4 new pieces to the University of West Florida for their alumni show in September. That's exciting to me because people at home can see what I've been doing artistically.
I have sent out feelers for other shows in the Seattle area. No bites yet but I'm certain something will emerge.
As always, if you want to see new art by me on a weekly basis visit
See you at the opening.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Bad Plus

I heard about this jazz trio today called The Bad Plus. They are pretty awesome. What originally got my attention is that they do rock songs like Tom Sawyer by Rush. But then, as I started surfing around to hear more, I discovered that they are just incredibly gifted musicians. There are quite a lot of videos of them on YouTube so check it out. Tom Sawyer is out there too. Definitely worth a listen.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

57th Annual Greenwood Seafair Parade

Last night was the parade. Sarah and I emceed for the third time since being in Seattle. It was fun the first year but now we just do it for the money. It could be a lot of the fun but the disorganization of our part of it is frustrating. The cards are never in order when we get there, the "script" is full of typos and terrible grammar, and the descriptions of each participant are way too long. I've offered my help in the past to make things flow better but I haven't been taken up on it. I'd love to get the script ahead of time so as to fix typos and rewrite portions that are repetitive or just badly written. But, alas, I probably won't get the opportunity because we were told there may not be a parade next year. In fact, we were told that there almost wasn't one this year. I think it has to do with the decreasing attendance. I spoke to someone today who pointed out the fact that the event really doesn't benefit the local businesses. Good point. I would have to say that looking around at the folks in the crowd I don't see too many people that look like they live in the neighborhood so if it's for the community and the community isn't coming, why continue?
The theme this year was "Going Green in Greenwood." Some of the participants had "green" themed entries but not too terribly many. One telling thing about this parade was left in the aftermath. There was trash everywhere. Way to go green there folks. I heard a similar argument for the Live Earth concerts. Are they really helping the environment or hurting it? I've been to concerts. People lay waste to the environment. And think of the power involved. It just doesn't compute. It's kind of like that time I saw some folks picketing McDonald's for using styrofoam containers but most of the the picketers were smoking. There's something not right with that picture. But, then again, I'm not surprised. The world is full of ignorant hypocrites.
So, if there's no parade next year, we'll miss the money but not the parade itself. I think the only people who will miss it will be the drill team participants. Those little girls are so competitive it's scary.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Woman Kisses Painting

It seems a woman was so taken with a painting by Cy Twombly that she planted a big kiss on it. I love art but that is ridiculous. Read more about it here.


Leaving Ruin by Jeff Berryman
If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I've been reading this book. It's one of those books that I've had to comment on as I go along. I finally finished it last night. Here are my impressions.
The story revolves around Cyrus Manning, a pastor in West Texas who faces imminent dismissal from the church. I will not give details about his struggles but he does have them. Cyrus is the most human pastor I've ever read in a book. He may be the most human pastor I've ever encountered in my life. It's too bad he exists only on paper. In the real world, pastors don't get dismissed from churches, they don't struggle with foul language or lust, and they certainly don't haunt seedy bars sipping frozen margaritas. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. The struggles of Cyrus Manning in the world of ministry have been my struggles. The simple fact that churches will not allow their ministerial staff to be human, to have flaws, to struggle with sin, and to be open about it...well...ministers are supposed to be Gospel supermen with all the answers all the time. Frankly, it's exhausting and I'm glad to be out of it.
Anyway, I'm not sure how to really "review" this book. It's a great book, no doubt about it. Get a copy and read it for yourself. I don't know how Jeff tapped into how ministers feel while serving in a church that is pretty much hell on earth, but he did and he did it beautifully. Jeff also has a one man play version of this story and that's what I saw first. When it was over, I was convinced that Jeff was a former pastor just telling his story. Not so. He's just taken the shared experience of many ministers and rolled it all up into Cyrus. It seemed so real at times, I could feel the anger rising because I could remember how it felt to be in Cyrus's place.
I could talk for a while about this book but I'll stop here. I'm not articulate enough to really communicate how important I think this story is. If I could, I'd make every person in every church in the USA read it or I would have them book Jeff to perform the play. Maybe they'd learn something.
For more info on Jeff, the book or the play, go here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

You Can't Go Home Again...Or Can You?

I talked to my parents today and they are moving forward with selling their house in Milton. (Milton is about 20 minutes from Pensacola) They are having a garage/workshop built on their property in Holt, Florida, which will be finished very soon. Their hope is to sell the house very soon, put all their stuff in the workshop and then move into a rental while they are building the house.
They also told me that the house we used to live in on Blackwell Lane in Pensacola is completely gone. A tree split the house in two during Hurricane Ivan. Apparently that property and others surrounding it have been sold to HUD. Across the street to the right is where Uncle Cliff and Aunt Ruby used to live. (not blood kin...close friends of my Nana' know how it is) The house burned to the ground. Aunt Ruby moved out years ago. I think vagrants did it. Across the street to the left is the house my mom grew up in...Nana and Paw-paw's house. The family sold the land to my cousin years ago. They put up a trailer behind it. The house is termite ridden and sagging. According to my mom the yard is not kept...overgrown and horrible. Down the street a bit in the field between where Aunt Ruby's house was and Mrs. Jernigan lived, according to my mom, there is now a vagrant camp. Across the way from that, a bunch of apartments have gone up. Apparently the old neighborhood ain't what she used to be.
My mom also told me that the high school I attended has been turned into a middle school. SIGH. Will any signs of my childhood be left?
Sarah and I are planning a trip to the Pensacola area in April of next year. I know that we will spend the bulk of the time at the beach in Destin but I had hoped to give Sarah a bit of a tour of my old haunts. It doesn't sound like there will be much left to tour. I'm not sad that my parents are moving from their present house. It was flooded during Ivan and they were stranded in the attic overnight. It was a nightmare for them and they would love to get away from the bad memories. Having endured a fire I know how they feel. I guess I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic. So much has changed back home. But I suppose home will always be where my family is whether it be Pensacola, Milton, or even Holt.

"To this silent God, I have nothing to say."

The title of this entry is a quote from the character Cyrus Manning in the book Leaving Ruin by Jeff Berryman. I am 50 pages away from being finished with the book. Last night's reading revealed a theme that I'm all too familiar with...a silent God. It seems that Cyrus feels abandoned by God. This is a feeling that I know only too well. You see, Cyrus is in a position where his life is falling apart. (I won't reveal details for those of you who want to read the book...and you should!) He has dedicated his life to serving God and, just when things start to fall apart, God goes mute.
I can relate. Several years ago, I found myself in a similar situation to Cyrus. I was dismissed from the church I had served in for 4.5 years with no warning whatsoever. Grab your stuff, we don't want you here anymore, get out...just like that. Needless to say, I was devastated and went through every possible emotion one can have in that situation. But the thing that devastated me the most was God's silence.
I never was much of a "go to the prayer closet" guy. I was more of a "pray without ceasing" guy. You know, just chatting with God throughout the day. After this event, my chats got a little more intense. I ranted, screamed, cried, name it and it probably came out of me at that time. But I got nothing in return. I even got to the point where I was saying, "Okay, so maybe you don't want me to be a minister anymore. So, what do you want me to do?" Again, nothing. After awhile, I just stopped talking too.
It's been 3 years and change since that event occurred and God went away. I still look for Him occasionally and, every once in a while, I find myself praying even when I don't really want to. I've moved on but I feel like there's a big part of myself missing, like something came and took a big bite out of my soul. Perhaps God is still there and I never knew how to communicate with Him in the first place. Perhaps I was a victim of denominational culture like so many people I know today. Perhaps I need to relearn what this whole God, Jesus, Bible thing is all about and not let the Baptists, Episcopals, Churches of Christ, Catholics tell me what it is. But, to be honest, right now, I just don't care enough to try.
Leaving Ruin has reopened some wounds that weren't completely healed in the first place. I'm glad I'm reading it but I don't know if I'll ever be able to pick it up again. It just hits too close to home. Now, let me leave you with another quote from Cyrus.
"How hard can it be for a God to speak?"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scary Rotter and the Monsters of Marketing Mayhem

I just picked up my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I did not pre-order nor did I stand in a line at midnight to get my copy. I calmly walked into my neighborhood department store today and bought my 40% off (thank goodness) copy. I will not begin to devour it immediately because I have a book I am reading right now and I want to finish it uninterupted. I may make Deathly Hallows my breakfast reading until I can give it the bedtime reading spot.
I will be sad that the exploits of Harry will be over. The books are good and worth looking forward to. I will not miss the marketing mayhem surrounding the series. It's gotten way too crazy for my tastes. The new book's cover price is $34.99. That's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Sarah likens the whole thing to idolatry and I think I would have to agree with that.
So, as I weave my way through the Deathly Hallows at a snails pace, please keep the spoilers to yourself. I will be the guy walking by you wearing the blindfold with his hands in his ears going, "La-la-la-la-la-la."


Had a nice chat with Jeff yesterday. We talked of many things (goo-goo-a-joob) including Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Leaving Ruin, the Christmas musical, quantum physics (okay, that was Jeff), and many, many other things.
We also talked about our work...his writing, my art. I've known this for a while but I have some decisions to make regarding my art. Jeff has reinforced what I've been discovering for myself for a while. Art is my thing. There are quite a few things that I am pretty good at but art is at the top of the list and, quite possibly, soars above the rest. Of all the things I'm good at, my passion peaks when it comes to visual art. It's a feeling that I am familiar with but it went away for so many years that I doubted it would come back. It has.
And so, on to the decisions. In this blog I'm sure you are quite accustomed to hearing me bitch and moan about not having opportunities to write, act, and perform music. These are all things I enjoy immensely but, as Jeff pointed out, are they "that one thing." The answer, much to my chagrin, is no. I would love to do some acting but am I going to put in the time required to take classes, get head shots, make a resume, go to auditions, etc. No. I have some writing projects I am working on but, for the most part, they sit idly by waiting for me to find time to work on them. They just aren't a priority at the moment. Right now, I have opportunities to get my art before the world and so, my writing has taken a backseat. I love the projects and they have great potential...maybe even for publication...but art has to be numero uno right now. The other question is a hard one. I'm meeting with a writer's group on a bi-weekly basis. The last time we met I had nothing to show them. I've been too busy with my art. Another meeting looms and I have nothing to show them. Should I continue with this group or give it up? I don't know.
Now, on to music. Music is tough. If I were to list all these talents out on a sheet of paper in the order in which I enjoy them, music would run a pretty tight second to visual art. I love music. I'm not as good at it as I am visual art but I'm no slouch either. So, where does that leave me? It's all about priorities.
I think the list would look like this. Art, Music, Writing, Acting. Art is the main thing right now. Does that mean that the rest of these are hobbies? What is a hobby? I think most laypeople would consider my art a hobby but they don't understand the passion involved. Sure, I'm not making a living at it but I'm working on that...slowly. Baby steps. I don't want to go crashing forward only to thrust myself off a cliff.
I'll leave this discussion here for the moment because I don't know where to take it next. Decisions, decisions. SIGH!

Friday, July 20, 2007


I love jazz. I'm no expert and I don't collect the seminal recordings of the greats but I love the music and I appreciate the talent it takes to play it. I recently discovered NPR's Jazz Profiles podcast and I am loving it. I am learning so much. And it's great to be able to find the music at the library afterword. In the near future I hope to check out Ken Burn's Jazz documentary from the library and watch it. I know it's hard for most people to pinpoint a moment when they began to like something but I know exactly when my appreciation for jazz began.
I was a senior in high school. One of my best friends who was in the marching and jazz bands asked if I would enter a poster contest so that he and some other band guys could attend the Count Basie concert. All I had to do was design a Count Basie themed poster. No biggie, even thought I didn't really know who Count Basie was. Oh sure, I had seen his cameo in Blazing Saddles but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. At that point, if it wasn't rock and roll, I didn't listen to it. So, I designed the poster...and won!
I fully intended to give all the tickets to my friend but I soon found out that I had to attend. Well, that didn't appeal to me but they wanted to present me with the award and show me off to all the highbrows. So, myself, my friend and a couple of other guys from the band go downtown to see Count Basie. I don't remember in what order anything happened but here's a synopsis. I went on stage to receive recognition for the poster. They had the poster framed and on an easel just offstage. Several of the guys in the band were checking it out and having a good old time. You see, I drew the band's stage setup the best that my friends could describe it to me. I had no picture to go by. As it turns out, I didn't get everyone's color right. Guys who were black were laughingly exclaiming, "Look! I'm white!" and vice versa. It was pretty darn funny. I finally went onstage and afterward I went backstage and actually met Count Basie. He was pretty old at the time so he didn't have much to say. I didn't either. What could I say? "Loved you in Blazing Saddles. What's Mel Brooks like?" Naw. We said our hellos, he signed the back of my blue ribbon (which I still have) and I left.
The concert was amazing. I absolutely loved it. I remember being in awe of the drummer. And it was the concert was going on you could hear all the people in the audience tapping their feet. I was so used to the rock concert scene but all the blue hairs were getting down in their own fashion. It was cool.
After the concert, me and the guys headed to a local bar where they were having an after party. The guys were in hog heaven because they knew who all these musicians were. I remember they were having a cow because this trumpet player they all revered was sitting at the bar. They chatted up the musicians and, as a result, several of the guys from the band showed up at our high school the next day for an impromptu jazz clinic. Sweet! I wasn't there but I'm glad I got to be a part of that happening.
So, that's the story of my intro to jazz. I've been a fan ever since. And I discover new jazz artists every day so my enjoyment and education is ongoing. So, thanks Count Basie, for showing an ignorant rock and roller how to swing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Girl Genius Volumes 2 - 5 by Phil & Kaja Foglio
Agatha Clay starts out as a seemingly befuddled apprentice to a robot builder and turns out to be a "spark" (one with amazing technological abilities) and a long lost member of the legendary Heterodyne family. What ensues is one long chase as several factions try to find her for their own reasons.
I am enjoying this series much more than I thought I would. I enjoyed Phil's artwork back in the 80's when he was doing Myth Adventures but his art has grown so much since then. And it actually continues to get better with each volume. This last one had me in awe of some subtle things he had done. The story is moving along at a good clip, the characters are good, the humor is good, but the art is what keeps me coming back.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fat Cat Mammon

I am in the process of reading my friend Jeff Berryman's novel Leaving Ruin. I put it off for a long time because I wanted to be able to take my time with it. I am only reading between 25-50 pages a that slow enough for you? I don't read fast anyway...well...that's another story.
I think I also put off reading it because I knew what it was about and I was afraid it might make me angry. Well,'s making me angry!
For those of you who don't know me or the book, let me give a brief explanation. Leaving Ruin is about a pastor who is in the process of getting run off from his church. I used to be a minister (not pastor) who witnessed others getting run off and then got run off himself...twice. So, needless to say, this book resonates with me. Oh, does it resonate.
I could comment on something from nearly every page but I can't do that. But last night, I was reading about Cyrus's (the pastor) encounter with Harry Johns. I have known a Harry Johns in every church I've ever served in or gone to. He's the rich fellow who is about as spiritual as a wooden billy goat but throws his Mammon around in a big way. He never gives a financial gift unless he can guide it's use in some way. Spineless pastors always cave to the will of the Harry John's. Strong pastors stand up to them and then find themselves jobless. I've experienced both scenarios.
My first church's pastor was a great guy who had recently experienced the loss of his wife. Over the first few months of my tenure as youth minister under his leadership, he started dating a woman...someone he had known as a teen. She had recently been divorced because her pastor husband was cheating on her with the church secretary. (that never happens) Well, as you can guess, folks in our church got all up in arms because the pastor was dating a divorced woman. He fought as long as he could but, in the end, he left. On his departure, he explained that he had been buffering me from alot of gried and to watch out. Boy, he wasn't kidding. They hit me with both barrels. In this particular case, there were a lot of Harry characters. The church was dying but rich. They had half a mil in the bank. They bullied me but, being spunky, I fought back. Eventually I had to resign because it was all too exhausting. But my departure made them mad because it wasn't on their terms. Good for me.
The second church I served in had a bigtime Harry character. A major league Daddy Warbucks for the church. Because the church was struggling financially, the pastor allowed this fellow to have power and influence he probably shouldn't have had. I can't say for certain, but I'm sure the Harry Johns character at this church had some say in my dismissal. For all I know, he's probably still there sitting in his fat cat seat doling out dollars when it suits him.
That's my experience. In the book, Cyrus ends up being threatened by Harry Johns and the encounter becomes physical. Cyrus handles it pretty well. My point about all this is that while I was reading it I was getting so mad. It took me back to all those times I've had to sit by and cowtow and kiss ass while these fat cats ran the show. I wanted to jump into the book and hold that sucker down while Cyrus beat the living daylights out of him.
I'm only on page 116 of 361. What's next? Arrgh! Ooh, I could chew nails and spit bullets right now. Berryman, look what you've done!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Tasty Burger

I was listening to an NPR podcast this morning and they were talking about the origin of the hamburger. No one can agree who invented it but it got me to thinking about the best burger I've ever had. Hands down, no contest, it's the tasty burgers at Charley's Old Fashioned Burgers in Ft. Worth, Texas.
This little hole in the wall was a hop, skip and jump from my digs at seminary. I used to go over there about once a week. Those burgers were the juiciest, yummiest...mmm-mmmm...those things were good. And the folks there were super nice. A bunch of friends showed up there one time to have a birthday party for me. We packed the place out. It was great! I miss Charley's. I left Ft. Worth in 1995 and I've been looking for a replacement ever since.
Seattle doesn't have it. If they do I haven't found it. I've checked out the top burger lists for this city and I've had a couple of the burgers and they don't come close by a long shot. I'd have to say that my fave place here in Seattle to get a burger is Red Robin. It's a chain and a little pricey but you always know you're going to get a pretty good burger. The fact that they have wheat buns and bottomless fries doesn't hurt either. Another popular place in town is Red Mill. It's within walking distance of our apt. It's on all the must lists but I have to say it's not that great. Seattle folks just don't know what good food is. I have yet to find a great any kind of food restaurant here in town. That's one thing I miss about the South...good food.
So, if you live in Seattle and think you have a burger I should try, let me know. If you live in Ft. Worth, slide on over to Charley's and have a burger for me.
Yuck. I just drooled on the keyboard.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
Okay, I won't add a description because everyone who cares knows what this book is about. And I'm not really going to review the book since this is a third time read for me and I just did it to get ready for the movie. So, why post an entry at all? Because my loyal fans expect it.
"Hem hem."
Oh, sorry Delores. Well, not much to report yet. Sarah and I haven't seen the movie yet. We're going sometime this week with a friend. To be honest, it's probably best that we waited. I hate crowds. But I am looking forward to seeing the movie. Although not rabid, I'm a fan of what author J. K. Rowling has created. It's a rich universe with good characters. I await the 7th book with anticipation but not enough to stand in line at midnight with thousands of pimply faced teens. No, I'll quietly enter my local department store and pick up a copy on sale. And I'll read it as quickly as possible, not because I want to know so badly it's making me almost wet my pants, but because I want to read it without stumbling over some spoilers on the internet or the tube. I am one of those people who likes to be surprised by what will unfold in the book.
So, there you have it.
"Hem, hem."
Yes, Delores?
"This is the worst review you've ever submitted. I'm afraid it's detention for you, young man. And I may have to subject you to a lifelong ban of writing. That will teach you, you Muggle!"
Yes, Delores...stupid bit...
"What did you say?"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I've Got The Music In Me

Our NW Art group met last night. Jeff previewed a few songs from our upcoming Christmas musical for us. The songs are good and I found myself getting excited about it.
Actually, what I began to feel was, for lack of a better word, an antsiness about it. As Jeff played the songs I felt as though I couldn't be still. I finally went and grabbed my djembe...even though I didn't play along very much. The way I was feeling just stems from the fact that I miss performing music.
It's been a little over 3 years since I've had opportunities to sing and/or play the drums. I did assist in leading worship at Sanctuary a couple of Sundays when we were attending there but my heart wasn't in it. I just didn't click with the leadership there. I have resisted auditioning for the worship band at NW because I just don't know if my heart is there anymore. I want to sing and perform but I don't know if I can actually worship...which, I think, is a very important thing if you are worship leader.
So, here I sit with longing in my heart to be involved in music, in some way, again. Perhaps I will get a part in the musical. Perhaps some other opportunities will arise. I hope so. When I'm not able to use my gifts I get...grumpy. When I see other folks who are given opportunities to use their gifts while I am sidelined I get angry and envious. I work at a theatre where I am not given the chance to perform and sometimes it bugs me. I go to church and see people up on stage doing what I used to do musically and it bugs me. I hear people talk about their writing and how it's getting some attention and it bugs me. I go into coffeeshops and galleries and see art hanging on the wall that's not mine (and, call it arrogance if you like, that's not as good as mine) and it bugs me. Do I want to feel this way? No. Can I stop it? So far, no.
I know that I will survive this. I have my visual art to keep me busy. I am having some small successes with it and that helps. But there are parts of me that want to be alive and, right now, they are dead. I hope they get a chance for resurrection.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'm Wounded

Oh, those nutty Catholics. First, go read the article here and then we'll talk.
First of all, I'd like to just offer up a bit of an apology to the Pope. I am so sorry I didn't recognize him. It's the hat. I just thought he was one of those Red Hat Ladies. If he wants me to recognize him he's got to wear that hat that's like 6 foot tall. That's hard to miss.
As far as the article goes, there's nothing to say. They say they're the universal church. Everybody else says they're not. All I can say is stack what the Catholics do next to scripture and you'll have your answer.
'Nuff said?

Catholic School Opens Gates To Hell Boy

A kid in Australia is denied enrollment at a Catholic school because his name is Max Hell. Go here to read more.
How utterly stupid of the school. How cool is a name like Max Hell! It sounds like some badass comic book character.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Y: The Last Man - One Small Step by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
After a mysterious plague wipes out nearly every male on the planet, Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand find themselves the last surviving males.
Book 4 finds Yorick and crew going head to head with a group of Arizona militia and Yorick must survive a suicide intervention. I won't waste too much time on this review. It's pretty much the same as the others. I'm happy to be reading this story but it's not the "be all and end all" comic story that I was told it was. If it weren't available at the library, I wouldn't bother. I do like the concept but they just haven't done much with it yet. Maybe the payoff is coming. I hope so. I hope they do a good job with the upcoming movie. It has potential to be great.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pay to Play

I've been surfing the net of late searching for opportunities to show my art. It's amazing to me how many places, be they galleries or whatnot, want to charge the artist for showing their work. Is this common? Am I naive? Can someone tell me what's going on?
Okay, maybe I am naive but I am of the opinion that they should not charge a fee for hanging a show. The phrase "starving artist" didn't come about by accident. While I am not starving by any stretch of the imagination, I don't have $300 to pay to a gallery just to show my work for a week. (That's just one option I've seen) Artists don't make much money in the first place and what money they do have goes into supplies so they can make the art. We also have to prepare the art for hanging and, sometimes, we have to pay for the promotional material for the show. So, to have to pay to actually hang the art on the wall...I think that's ludicrous. I'm sort of going by the model I've learned from the publishing business. I've been taught that if someone wants to publish your work but they are asking you for money, walk on. The money should flow from the publisher to the author. The same goes for art. The money should flow toward the artist w/ your typical commissions taken out. Heck, I don't have a problem with commission. I have to get my art out there and if it sells and I get 50, 60, 70% of the sale, that's more than I would have gotten if my stuff was sitting on the floor in my studio.
If you have any insight into this, let me know. I really want to hear what you have to say. For right now, I'm only going to enter situations where any potential money flows my way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

To Make With The Good English

I recently sent some material to George Hrab at the Geologic Podcast for his segment called To Make With The Good English. Lo and behold, I listen to show # 21 and, not only does my stuff get used, but he mentions my name. I am famous now. I am a legend in my own mind. I am...okay, that's enough. Hop on over and give it a listen. He's got some funny stuff on there. Beware all you with sensitive's definitely an R rated podcast. I really love his new segment, Occasional Songs for the Periodic Table. Priceless! One of my favorite ongoing segments he does is the Religious Moron of the Week.
If you want to see the material I sent to him, go here. Days

Well, today has been interesting. The hot weather we've been expecting arrived a day ahead of schedule. It's going to be in the 90's for a couple of days here in Seattle. Now, unlike other Seattlites, I'm not complaining. I'm just reporting the facts. See, I remember those hot days back in the south with humidity so thick it's like you're Ed Harris in The Abyss breathing that liquid oxygen. For the most part, Seattle weather is outstanding in the summer. The only drawback is that we don't have air conditioning. No one had air conditioning. You just don't need it out here...except for those couple of days in the summer when it gets really hot. Right now I'm sitting at the computer in our studio with a fan running and I'm pretty comfortable. And the beauty part Sunday it's going to be in the 70's again. Sweet!
On top of the heat, we have a sick kitty. This time it's Max. He got constipated again and we had to take him to the vet to have an enema. The poor little fellow just has too much hair on his bum and it causes some major backups. He's also a bit thin because he doesn't like the new food Mickey is on. So, we got some food for Max to try. Geez, if it's not one it's the other.
And to place a cap on the days events, as I was getting ready this morning the shelf in our closet collapsed. I was trying to hold it up and yelling for Sarah to come help me. She was outside watering plants and couldn't hear me. So, I had to let it all fall. Hopefully our building manager will come and fix it soon. Almost everything from our closet is sitting out in our bedroom now and it's a mess.
I have yet to mention that tonight is the first preview performance (invited dress) for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I hope they're ready. I have to go back at 4 to finish cleaning for tonight. Oh, and there are kids camps at the theatre for the rest of the summer. Yippee! Yahoo! Hurray!
Ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Doll Face

This is a powerful and creative video. This theme is so timely. We are killing ourselves trying to be what the world tells us to be.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Yesterday was supposed to be a lucky day. Of course, I'm not superstitious at all but it would have been nice to have a lucky day. A day where everything goes right. I wonder what a day like that would look like?
But, naturally, yesterday was not such a day. There were no checks in the mail, no lotteries won. I was not any more productive at my art than I am any other day. I was not "discovered" by the art world at large and thrust upon a pedestal for all the world to worship and adore.
It was simply another day. At my age, perhaps that's enough.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When Fire Doesn't Work

Sarah and I sat on our balcony last night waiting for what little fireworks we could see. As we waited we noticed a neighbor in a nearby house watering down everything in her yard. The house, trees, flowers, car, street, power pole...everything. Sarah made a comment that she was probably being overly cautious but I felt for the woman. As the people above us carelessly spilled sparkler all over the bushes next to our apartment the old fear of fire crept to the surface. I've been that way since my apartment went up in flames in February of 2000.
I was living in Columbia, SC. I went to bed close to midnight and started hearing strange noises. I looked up and noticed that the storage closet on my balcony was on fire. I called 911, put some clothes on, grabbed my wallet and car keys and headed out the door. A few hours later I was homeless. A lady from my church just happened by and she took care of me until I checked into the hotel that the Red Cross provided. The next morning a man from church picked me up at the hotel and we went to assess the damage. The fire travelled up from the closet and into the ceiling. Since there was no firewall it went to each end and started ravaging the building. All 8 units were ruined but, oddly enough, my section had the most roof left than anyone. We were allowed to go in so a bunch of folks from the church showed up to help me salvage. The apartment was knee deep with wet insulation, burned boards, and roofing materials. A group of ladies took my clothes out of the closet and cleaned them for me. All the furniture was ruined. All of my pictures were in a plastic container in a closet that sustained no damage at all. All in all I lost about half of my stuff including all of my art. I had no insurance. We moved what could be salvaged to some folks garage and the next few weeks I spent as much time as I could over there cleaning it all up. I stayed with folks in the church and they treated me like a son. The previous church I had left under less than great circumstances sent me a check for almost $5000. The church I was serving in at the time also gave me money, food, clothes and who knows what else. I also got a new bed from the Red Cross and a bunch of gift cards for Kmart from a local charity. I eventually got into a new apartment and things began to return to normal. But I wasn't ok.
I guess I had what amounts to Post Traumatic Stress. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking my apartment was on fire. I would have to walk around the apartment and check everything before I could go back to sleep. Every time an emergency vehicle with a siren went by I would freak out on the inside. It took a ong time to get over it but I did. When my parents went through the awful ordeal of being trapped in their attic while the house flooded during Hurricane Ivan I was able to share with my dad about the after effects. He was suffering from it too.
So, I'm very cautious around fire. I'm not freaky scared of it but I am very, very aware and watchful when there's a hazard of fire around. I didn't get a hose and douse the apartment building on the 4th of July...but it's a great idea.
And by the way, they never concluded what started the fire. Their best guess was a faulty wire. Great...something I can't watch for.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bohemian Rhapsody

My friend Chris called this afternoon and it was great to catch up with him. Typical of his sense of humor, he left me with this gem from YouTube. Thanks buddy!

Silly Me

I take Mondays off because I work on Saturday. Wednesday is the 4th of July. It occurred to me that I should take Tuesday off and make it a long weekend. So I did. Now, I don't have to be back at work until Thursday. Sweet!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Alaska Slideshow

I finally got the slideshow done of our trip to Alaska. Enjoy!

A Day in Everett

Well, I haven't had much to blog about lately. I guess I've been reluctant to share the tedium of everyday life with the world-at-large. I wake up, go to work, come home, work on art, do chores, spend a little time with my wife, and go to bed. It's all so exciting. I don't know why you all wouldn't want to hear about it in all of it's minute details?
Yesterday I had to spend a couple of hours at work. The summer camps for kids have started and that means my schedule will be wonky until they end. After work, Sarah and I made a day of it in Everett. Everett is about 30-40 minutes north depending on traffic. It's a more rural area compared with Seattle's urban sprawl. The people up there seem more like "just folks" than the typical Seattle crowd which can be described as a bunch of would be hipsters who are trying way too hard to be cool. The Everett crowd was refreshing. We shopped at Michael's, Half-Price Books, Old Navy, Borders and Wal-Mart. Some of it was fun shopping but alot of it was necessary daily life kinda stuff. We took a break after a couple of hours and got ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. I usually end up being disappointed with my choice but not this time. I opted for the French Toast ice cream with graham cracker crust, apple pie filling and caramel all mixed in. It was "slap your mama" good! Sarah got this birthday cake mixture with sprinkles and such. It was good too.
After all the shopping, we met our friends Marshall and Joan for dinner at an overpriced Mexican place. We had fun and laughed alot. We sat in the bar and they had MTV Espanol playing on the TV. Some of the videos were hilarious. One guy's name was like Osama von Bling or something like that. The hip-hop video "Lean like a Cholo" had us in stitches. And when the live mariachi band kicked in, we couldn't stop laughing.
Afterward, we went to their house and stayed way too late talking. It was a fun day and an even better evening. The weather was great and we got to exercise our shopping bone just a bit. I wish I knew what we were going to do on the 4th. The fireworks show in Seattle is too crazy to get anywhere near. Too many hipsters.