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Showing posts from October, 2009

fun with squash

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Pumpkin carving at CraftNight : Artists at work. Artist getting frisky with my pumpkin. Meehan with the piranha pumpkin she and Christy carved. AK will deny it, but she just loves being in pictures. O.C., meet the newest orange cat in the Ykleinrra household. It's okay, he's not here to replace you. T- Mec , however, may try. Still life with sunflowers, pill bottle and REI catalog. Fun with the lights off. For more Halloweeny good times, visit gothtober .com , an Octoberly collage of films, animations, games and stories assembled by the CraftNight craft captain herself, JP.

secret gardens, sea gardens

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1. exorcising the everyday Friday night AK and I met Suzie for veggie burgers and jalapeno poppers and beer at Barbara’s, the café/bar inside the Brewery . There was a time in my life when I would barely have been able to set foot in the Brewery—its turn-of-the-century industrial buildings-turned-live/work space for artists would have left me crippled with envy. Now I’ve come to terms with the fact that my art only requires a laptop, and rooms with medium-height ceilings are easier to heat. Now I can enjoy the Brewery properly. After dinner, AK led me through a maze of alleys and parking lots to a studio she’d seen open earlier. We were greeted by a dragon the size of a camper. He had two heads and he was made of light. His friend the octopus was also made of light, as well as tie-dyed maroon gauze, tiny mirrors, and the door of a 1965 Oldsmobile, which he held in two of his eight immense legs. The music playing in the studio was the noise that water would make if water became mu

dear contact@lapdonline.org

To Whom It May Concern: I'm writing to express my concern with the LAPD's harassment of people who are selling food on the street. I mentor a 16-year-old girl who lives in Koreatown; her mother, like many immigrants in the area, earns her living by selling donuts from a small cart. A couple of weeks ago (around Oct. 12), my mentee witnessed the police confront a congregation of street vendors on Normandie and 8th St. The police told the vendors they couldn't sell there, disbanded the group, and threw some of the vendors' food away. When my mentee verbally protested, one of the officers asked how old she was and sent her home. I realize that because I did not witness this incident firsthand, I cannot file a formal complaint. But I agree heartily with what my mentee told me: "It's not fair because those are the only jobs a lot of people can find. They're not hurting anyone, and when their food gets thrown away, it's like losing money. The cops should be

i’m a lemur: heeeey!

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I was going to post about how I found RZA’s theory (outlined in his Onion AV Club interview ) about the lack of a gay gene really lame—how even though I don’t think the point is whether homosexuality is genetically caused or not, his theories are one part Freudian bullshit and one part biblical bullshit—but then I realized that, to be fair, I should read the whole interview. Which I didn’t feel like doing. So instead I direct you to this far finer piece from The Onion ’s news desk: Report: 65% Of All Wildlife Now Used As Homosexual Subculture Signifier

i refuse to plaster this post with pink ribbons or make jokes about saving the tatas

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1. in which the dmv seems appealing October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month . Usually the only awareness month on my radar is Poetry , in April, because it means I have to work a lot. Oh, and National Pretzel Month (February). But I’ve been thinking about breast cancer this month because for a second I thought maybe I had it. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. I had some benign fibrous thingies and a case of hypochondria . Although, if there is something there —even if it’s just a poseur of a tumor—you’re not making shit up, right? So is it technically hypochondria? Anyway, I got it checked out because I could, because I have health insurance, which everyone should have, including a public option (please write to your representative). Apparently I have very nice health insurance, because I landed at the Huntington Hospital Breast Center, which looks like a fucking spa inside. We’re talking white bathrobes, fountains, Cirque du Soleil (!) on a loop in the waiting room, good magazines like In

grey is the new black

According to AK's coworker, everyone and their mother is going to be this for Halloween, so I guess I'm not spoiling some big reveal by saying that AK and I are going as Little Edie Beale...and her mother. Yesterday I hit the Out of the Closet in Westwood in my first attempt to find Grey Gardens -themed clothing. I quickly realized how easy it would be to find good Little Edie attire. Usually, thrift store shopping is burdened by the need to find the exact right size among items that only come in one size each. But everything Little Edie wears is ill-fitting, so all I had to do was find the wrong size. Always plentiful. Soon I was the proud owner of a black boat-neck sweater and a straight, way-too-short plaid skirt, which I plan to pair with shorts and tights, Little Edie-style. Something about the experience felt entirely comfortable to me, at which point I--a person who regularly applied lip gloss to my eyelids in college--realized that I will dress just like Little Edie

what's hot, what's lukewarm

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1. a tale of two universes I found a January 2009 issue of In Touch Magazine in front of our house on Saturday and spent the weekend thinking about the parallel future we would be living in had all In Touch ’s reported rumors panned out. A world in which Suri Cruise would be a big sister and Ashlee Simpson would be single. It also inspired me to make a what’s hot/what’s not-style list comparing Sara Gruen ’s Water for Elephants to Robert Hough ’s The Final Confession of Mabel Stark . In the Hough /what’s hot column, you’d see statements like “Heroine who can kick a full-grown tiger’s ass (but chooses to talk nicely to him instead)” and in the Gruen /what’s not column, it would say “Female lead in need of constant rescuing and consolation.” Except I can’t figure out how to make two columns in Blogspot ’s little “New Post” window, and it seems a little mean to Gruen besides. AK claims I never post a negative review on GoodReads , but most books that hold my attention to the end h

growth avenue

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It's not uncommon for me to go to a friend's reading/opening/screening/play to show support for said friend and for the community in general. It's also not uncommon to come away thinking, Wow, my friend is even more talented than I realized . Rediscovering people you already know--or getting an intimate glimpse into the life and mind of an acquaintance--is one of the strange perks of knowing a lot of arty people.* But it is uncommon for me to be as floored as I was last night, when AK and I saw her friend and colleague Evah Hart's exhibit, Growth Avenue, at the Deborah Martin Gallery downtown. Over the course of several years, Evah documented her family in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a time period that included the illness and eventual death of her youngest brother. So yes, there's an intense personal story at the heart of her show, and it was jarring to walk into a room full of, well, intense and personal images that also had a party going on in the middle of it, a p

coney island superstar

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The new Phantom of the Opera sequel will be set in Coney Island , which tempts me to write a mini- dissertation on the journey from high art (opera) to low (carnival) via middle (big-budget musical theater). About how all three forms are suffering compared to new-media art (which can be high or low, from experimental films to someone farting on YouTube). But while musical theater plus circus sounds like a pairing made in Cheryl heaven, in this case it’s not. Maybe I saw the original Phantom too late into the hype, but I thought Christine and Raoul were boring, and since I was at the height of my identity-politics-driven college years, I was pissed that the ugly guy had to meet a tragic end. I pretend to hate Andrew Lloyd Webber in favor of the more respectable Stephen Sondheim , but it truth there are plenty of ALW shows I like: Sunset Boulevard , Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar …and yes, even Cats . (What? I like dancing and I like actual cats [because it’s not all a metaphor—it ki

mermaid and mustangs

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It seemed like maybe things weren’t off to a good start when my tattoo artist: Told me I should have let him know earlier that I wanted my mermaid’s tail to curl down onto my foot; Mentioned that he’d been tried for murder after a guy was killed in a bar fight he’d been involved in; Mentioned that that bar fight took place at Barney’s Beanery. Just last week, I was telling AK that Barney’s Beanery is probably my least favorite bar. But after chatting with Justin for a while (and accidentally kicking him several times—apparently getting one’s ankle tattooed is a little bit like having a doctor hammer your knee with that rubber mallet thingy), he seemed to forgive me for not explaining my tattoo better, and I decided that the guy whom Justin’s friend stabbed was totally asking for it. And I love my new mermaid (thank you, Mom and Justin Lewis of Artifact Tattoo in Canyon Country!). Even though my foot looks kind of weird and misshapen in these pictures. I am going to pretend it’s just

what i read in september...

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…was a lot of magazines belonging to the girl whose East Village apartment we borrowed, including the prom issue of Cosmo Girl , which had a post-it on it that said, Jen, I know this isn’t the kind of magazine you usually buy, but I thought of you when I saw all the pretty dresses, which you’d look fabulous in. SO MANY PRETTY DRESSES. Love, Mom But I also read: The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman: I loved so many elements of this book--the lightning-scarred characters, the intersection of science and fairy tales. And Hoffman works her motifs beautifully: ice, butterflies, the color red. But the characters, a pair of adult orphans and a recluse with a mysterious past, were painted in somewhat broad (if lovely) strokes. I felt like Hoffman kept having to remind me how they were conflicted and why--so it never quite added up emotionally. Maybe in that way it's too much like a fairy tale. Three Junes by Julia Glass: I loved spending time with the sweet, surprisingly (sort of refre

this is not to say i don’t welcome dogs at my readings

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1. even oprah writers get the blues “Bookstore readings are not what they used to be,” said Susan as we schlepped copies of The Commuters from the parking lot to her classroom. “I had a friend who was one of Oprah’s picks. But once even he showed up at a Barnes & Noble for a reading and there was only one person there. She asked him to hold her dog while she went to the bathroom, and when she came out, she bought a book on pets instead of his novel.” Even though the bookstore readings I’ve done have been quite lovely, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has trouble filling a house sometimes. This is why it’s cathartic to talk to other writers. It’s equally good for the soul, I’ve decided, to visit colleges, which is how I spent the past day and a half. My first stop was San Diego City College, home of City Works Press , which has basically been my fairy godpublisher. Usually the most writers ask for is an audience of more than three and not too much espresso-machine noi