Friday, July 27, 2012

Altamont Pass at dusk.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


Pop Music Too Loud and All Sounds the Same: Official

A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used.
This is from Reuters, not the Onion, so I now have no shame in requesting that you please vacate my literal and figurative area of aesthetic and recreational space, planted with durable things, subject to weed, pest control, and practices aimed at its maintenance, and regularly mowed to ensure an acceptable length. NOW.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Speaking of art, a recent acquisition:

I've admired my very talented friend Alex Case's breathtaking asphalt paintings for some time, since I saw him exhibit them over a year ago at Johansson Projects. At once serene and dynamic -- a hallmark of a lot of my favorite types of art, and certainly one of the reasons I love Alex's other work too -- we made the decision to buy this right after I had quit my same-old-BS-different-salt-mine job and were unsure of the stability of our finances. Like my taste in art, I was both terrified and exhilarated, calm but intrepid, because I knew.

There is a way I decided I wanted to live my life a long time ago that was fomenting even when I was just a little girl. I had an idyllic childhood and great parents, and though the negative and positive aspects of the redneck county where I grew up informs my life in many ways, one thing that stands out is that I always knew there was more out there.

I remember my father telling me how he joined the US Army to see the world and avoid a life sentence at the mill or the mine; how on R&R in Occupied Japan while the other GIs went out to drink and whore he would buy a train ticket -- counting the stops so he wouldn't get lost -- and get off the train in some little village and just walk around. Contrary to the official warnings of his superiors, who told him that a lone American GI in a village far from base was at risk of getting his throat slit, he was invited into the homes of countless families for tea, along the way learning his love of Japanese joinery and Japanese farming techniques, and saw the kind of Japan that still only exists for a very few lucky outsiders.

It was my father who told me that I was the captain of my destiny and that I could steer myself anywhere I wanted to go. In the course of charting my way, I decided I wanted to exist fearless, by sucking the marrow out of life, and part of that for me was forging a life that valued the arts.  

Alex's painting means a lot more to me than just a beautiful piece of work that I will have the rest of my life -- it reinforces for me the things my father taught me and wanted for me; that I'm making the right choices for my life, and that I'm also blessed to have the time and inclination to reflect on those things.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh neglect...

July is almost over and no post until now. Bad saudade.

But, but, it was my birthday week in the beginning of July! And I started a new job fundraising for a library, and my boy is off work, and it's summer.

Can I make it up to you?

My friend, the amazing illustrator Hanae Rivera, has just finished stunning oil pastel illustrations for her first children's book, Kodoku, by William Emery, out on Heyday Books in September 2012.

Look at all the pretty things!

Kodoku (solitude) is based on the true story of Kenichi Horie, the first yachtsman to sail solo across the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to California, in 1962. Hanae's rich  illustrations really evoke both the title of the book and the greater connectivity one can feel in the great, vast Pacific, teeming with life and energy.

Hanae's work is getting some great press; among other early accolades, she is Lightsource SF's artist of the month for July!

Do your bookshelf or coffee table a favor and pick up this gorgeous book -- kids or no kids -- or some sweet prints here, and support the work of this terrific artist.

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