First Book Signing at Art Basel Miami Beach

Never once before this had I considered book signing or especially about art work. Often times I’d read about a book signing and just continue reading without pause. Never given it much thought actually. When the email from PAMM loaded in Gmail I glanced through it and, this time, actually grasped that there was an opportunity awaiting for me to actually participant and at the same time keep a physical representation of my efforts of that particular day and of the interest I had at that time and what I wanted out of the event. The embodiment of this effort was in a book and a few amputated lines of text written by someone whose hands produced work significant enough to be shown as part of her retrospective. Her first and mine as well. The signature was excellent. Felt completely fulfilled the moment she closed the book, turned it around, and nudged it towards me. A collection just beginning.

The less than hour drive south to PAMM wasn’t terrible except for having left one hour later than I had originally planned. Arrive at 9:45am I thought, but didn’t want to seem so eager walking into the museum for a yet to begin book signing. And so leaving for the drive at nearly 10am made me nervous that I would completely miss my opportunity to receive her signature. A fair amount of planning went into this day. Here’s a list.

  1. The 1 PTO day from work.
  2. The approximately 40 minute drive to PAMM. Counts for time and gas.
  3. The $10 flat parking fee at PAMM.
  4. The 1 hour wait in a standing-only line.
  5. The $60 art book purchase.
  6. The approximately 40 minute drive from PAMM. Counts for time and gas again.
  7. The output of these hard and soft costs are book itself.

People in the standing-only line were less chatty that I expected. “Is this the line of the book signing?” She asked with my back turned and assumed it was for me because I was the last person in the line. Maybe 5” 4′ with black rimmed glasses, shorts, t-shirt, tote bag, brownish long hair and a cast on her right foot. She had a gold iPhone too. Not the iPhone 6 though. Lives and works in New York as an art directory and the designer of the official Art Basel Miami Beach magazine cover art. Had never seen this official magazine until she mentioned it. They were in all the hotels and in the convention center. Didn’t matter where they were unless I also had one. So instead of Beatriz Milhazes signing her own newly released art book and the reason for the book signing, the New York art director was to ask Beatriz to sign her magazine art work. Pretty cool. Nice to meet you. No, no, no. You sign my art. Just let me take it out of my tote bag here.

Oh and the Brazilian bourgeois. If it wasn’t that they were all women except for the old man I would think more harshly of them. Nice looking women actually. One had a witch’s nose. The other a white dress, a long face, great legs and what I appeared to be a firm bunda from multiple angles and poses. The others are forgotten. Nonstop chatting the entire line. The old man leaves the line walks away and back in line. The representation of a yo-yo.

Standing in line I infrequently checked my phone. really observing the other line standers the perhaps non-obvious emerges. Mainly in how people are dressed. Some where clearly there for Art Basel and others perhaps locals were just in everyday wear and slightly on the shabby. At least I wore polo shirt. Would have been concerning had I wore a simple t-shirt. Yes, these are things never considered prior to the book signing experience.

So the line moved at a slow pace and I can only imagine was due to the nearly every person wanting a picture. Take my picture. Let me take your picture. Here’s my phone. Flash me. Oh, that one came out nice. Smile wide and show me your teeth so that I know you really appreciated it. The fake smile I gave you. Leaning over the table or worse going around the table. It’s not what you expect.

And what do you say? Flattery gets you everywhere. She said that. The art director. No, I didn’t say that loved here work. No, I didn’t critique or give advise. And certainly didn’t begin with a thought out analysis of her work and its influence or derivative work or impact on her work on the art world. “Hi. Glad to be here.” That’s it. Gave her my name and she began writing. For the hour long book signing stander by she wrote “with Joy.” But my reward was “with Joy and Rhythm.” Beatriz imperceptibly glanced at a cardboard sheet with many names written on it just before writing the word rhythm. The capital “R” is strange compared to the other letters. She gave me extra is what’ I’m saying. An extra word.

Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier

Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier
Clear skies in Jacksonville Beach on the fishing pier.

A typical beach town. Continue north of Jacksonville Beach and experience Atlantic Beach and go a bit further for Neptune Beach. Beach town, cruising, people out walking, everyone wearing sunglasses just enjoying.

First Look is Free and You Know Something Honey

Still of Brenda the Waitress SNL Skit with Jan Hooks and Alex Baldwin
Still frame of Jan Hooks and Alex Baldwin in Brenda the Waitress SNL Skit.

Maya Rudolph, in a women of SNL episode, introduced what I  knew then only as the diner skit with Alex Baldwin, but what I know now correctly as the Brenda the Waitress skit with Jan Hooks and Alex Baldwin. The acting is spot on and dialogue is fluid and infectious. Amusing and charming altogether.

Like the original introduction on SNL via Hulu, the recent episode hosted by Bill Hader spread news of Jan Hooks’ passing with a showing of a tender skit of her and Phil Hartman dancing.

Brenda the Waitress SSaturday Night Live Thumbnails
Thumbnails of the entire Brenda the Waitress SNL skit.

Enjoyable even after the twentieth view. Watch it here.

An Introvert’s Art Fantasy and Mine As Well

Vivian Maier’s story is well told in Who Took Nanny’s Pictures? a BBC documentary and a New York Times article does a fine job of explaining recent developments of Ms. Maier’s after life. And since there is virtually nothing more I can add other than opinion, well, that’s what I intend to offer.

Watch the documentaries and read the article and in perfect stride mine and any other opinion will unfold.

She was a nanny and took videos and pictures of children – chronicling their lives – because only children want that level of attention. They want to be noticed. Anyone else would simply become annoyed. Children are tremendously expressive and genuine. Capturing tender intimacy is a great satisfaction. The camera was perhaps the only she could experience it.

A recluse. A loner. A recluse loner. The children, now adults, say she had a dark side. Anger directed at people for their flaws and less than genuine nature. They weren’t pure of heart or purpose.

Vivian Maier
Screen capture of photo of Vivian Maier on BBC Imagine Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny’s Pictures?

I would have liked Vivian Maiers. We share a few habits like not giving people our real names and not inviting people into our lives. We’re around people but absent simultaneously. Simply detached and avoiding attention.

Joel Meyerowitz in both films explains Vivian Maier’s likely psyche and it’s on point. Yes, her photos are very good, but I find more interest in her life story and am in great awe.

Perhaps she never found someone to confide in or who shared her sensibilities. That is so important in life. Or maybe the people around her, the families who shared their lives with her, where just too shallow. There’s a point in one of the films, cannot remember which one, where there is mention of Vivian identifying with the poor. Indeed she was poor and seeing the lives of these rich families probably helped harden the distaste and judgement she had about their lives and priorities. There’s an unfairness about life. After all, she obviously didn’t place importance on material possessions. Can you just imagine a servant, which she practically was, listening to the conversations of a well off husband and wife? Inconsequential worries and discussions. a world removed. More ANGER!!! that these people are so blind and self absorbed. She knew, had to have known, that she was disposable to the families. Here, take care of our children, share their early childhood lives and then kindly get out of our house and find your way economically; you you nanny. We don’t need you anymore. Door closes and the family moves on.

She wasn’t accepted. And not that she wanted to, but when accepted you have control to say no i don’t want to be accepted. And it is you that decides who can accept you. However, this only works for the rich and powerful. The poor pushed aside, unacknowledged. It doesn’t matter if you want to decide to be accepted because you don’t matter. I’ll find another nanny thank you.

But finally those people still alive can now rightfully understand her and how she towers over them. She’s won! She knew everything about these families and they knew nothing of her. what little they knew was all wrong. the control was her’s. The massive amount of work and quality simply overshadows these families. She is rich and now they are the poor. They are wiped away – erased. And while she may have been someone who they forgot, Vivian Maier will continue to live and these people will be forgotten. She’s achieved a mighty sweet revenge.

Viewing her work i wonder how did she get the focus just right and the image so clear and not blurred. Amazingly it was just pictures, but also video and newspaper clippings and audio tape recordings that she created. A pack rat of the highest order she apparently stored receipts and papers, letter, all manner of items. It’s interesting that one object, one thing, however invaluable suddenly gains value the more of it you have. The quantity of something grows into a collection and the value is in its variety and similarity. Maybe its simply the patience of collecting mundane objects that when grouped in large amounts bursts into something of value. Through the quantity emerges and glow an aura of interest and uniqueness.

Sold my Nikon several years ago during a trough in my life. I’m shopping for a camera now.

The time period seems to add to the surprise of her photos. A curiosity of the way things were. It’s essentially a complete documentation of her life. And that is wonderful.

Passing Gas Inspired by The Planets

Arsht Center concert tickets to The Planets
Concert Tickets to Planets Adrienne Arsht Center on Sunday March 22, 2014

With the exception of an old man sitting less than one seat away – he mischievously sat next to us – and his active geyser of sulfur spewing anus, the concert was simply grand.

All throughout and up until intermission, the symphony of gasses crashed and burst in the third tier seating enough to awaken profound sleepers and anyone with a stuffed nose. This man was unfazed by our befuddled looks and throat clearing and the occasional blatant wave of the hand across our collective noses. Determined he was.

Returning to our seats at the end of intermission the world was not safe from the monster among us. As a small display of disgust with the gentleman with the unruly intestine, we publicly moved to other seating several rows behind on the right. Poor seats, sure – but well away from the bastion of ass vomit and its king.

Love Like a Chinese Puzzle

Sunday 21 June 2014 Update: Martine, unsure but convinced and committed, remains with Xavier in New York. With her two children. And just like that Martine becomes Xavier’s ex-wife; the ex-wife that moved to New York with his son and daughter to live with her boyfriend. While we aren’t given the opportunity to know Martine’s ex-husband this light layer of hypocrisy is just the right amount to start a non-stop Chinese Puzzle cycle. Coming to mind several weeks after viewing the film I wonder at the unsensed emotional ties this movie has created.

These types of stories are rarely uncommon. Trials and tribulations of life leading to happy endings. We’re expecting the happy ending and sometimes that makes us sad. If only our lives could be as lucky. Feelings are messy for all but only the most desensitized flesh bags on two legs. As Xavier, a Parisian unwillingly forced to extract himself from lovely Paris to the noise and diversity of New York City, struggles to find a way, a path, I saw myself time again in Xavier’s shadows of the real world. And Martine. She’s perfectly perfect.

Xavier and Martine all happy and shit. Jealous? Yes!
Xavier and Martine all happy and shit. Jealous? Yes!

Time to organize and settle down. Oh, the feelings this odd movie kindled within me. I think I understand how woman searching for romance must feel. Definitely inspirational though unlikely in some parts, the Chinese puzzle of this man’s life, Xavier, solved. Happy endings are wonderful especially in our own lives.

Drunk Tired Horny Beatniks in Big Sur’s Emotional Head Trip

Big Sur paperback cover Penguin Books edition
Big Sur paperback cover Penguin Books edition. Cover art by Vivienne Flesher.

hor, hor, hor

I need solitude and rest so borrow mafriend’s cabin in the woods to stay there a long head scratching month with plans to write and get away from those kids breaking into my house expecting me to drink and drunk and yahoo. All that stuff sez those crazy kids reading my book.

yass, yass, yass

Adjust and accept and become comfortable and only then enjoy – the reading pattern I took with Big Sur. Not long after publishing his classic and inspirational book “On The Road,” the over-the-top fan attention Jack Kerouac received was too much. He needed a place to hide and collect thoughts. That place is Big Sur on the central California coast. His time at Big Sur is described in a book of the same name.

sicksicksick

A discomfort settled through the first chapters. Lightly structured and unexpected rhythms and cadence. The word combination clashes then links and then elevates, but returns down forcefully breaking mangled over jagged rock. Aaaarrgghh!!! Felt like a transcription of live events. Something like unfiltered closed captions.

(Long long hyphens)

Constantly drunk he borrows a friend’s cabin in the woods. Stumbling and groping at night he finally reaches the cabin and there onward it’s a mess of people and back and forth to and from the cabin to San Francisco or to a friend or back at the cabin, but he doesn’t want to be there anymore at the cabin and again and again. A. gain.

dont (without apostrophe)

Encouraging for the slow reader some chapters are no more than two pages.

sumptin

And the end is a blur of nonsensical raw thoughts crisscrossing. Illusions, hallucinations, paranoia. Severely drunk. His friends with him at the cabin want to harm him. Billie the sweet girl he met in San Francisco just wants to marry him. It’s her last chance at a real man. The precipice of delusion and paranoia end suddenly and quickly. Everything is alright. Jack is alright. His friends are alright. The world is good again.

tryna

More reviews of Big Sur over at Good Reads.

HELLO Vancouver!!!! Muwah.

A open-armed ‘HELLO’ I said to Vancouver at the end of April during my first visit. Three thousand plus miles and an easy 13 hour travel from Fort Lauderdale to Houston to San Francisco to (finally!) Vancouver. The time difference helped, but still arrived in the late afternoon. A combination of mountains, ocean, and influences from native peoples, British and French make Vancouver unique and nearly downright cozy. The drive from the airport was largely on one single road traversing everything reaching downtown. Too vain and afraid to look like the first time Vancouver visitor that I truly was the occult video is all I could manage. Observe the bridge the approaching tallness of the city. HELLO Vancouver.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Very nice. Complaints were made by a few people in the group I joined. I witnessed the complaints and luckily couldn’t join; my room was fantastic. Loved every minute of being the room. The details were everywhere. More than once out loud I’d say “I could live here.” and many more times I silently thought the same. Sure, the room had old world charm what with the wood flooring, the large windows, the heavy wooden doors with brass doorknobs, the very high ceilings, top and bottom moldings – everything just fit nicely and cleaning – a symphony of decor. Room 1209 with a view of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Perfect.

Room 1209 The Fairmont Vancouver
Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery View Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery view from room 1209 at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Sadly, the visit to Vancouver was work related, but desperately snuck off like a night bandit for a bit of exploring. Yes, I politely ditched some co-workers. The nearest museum is a must explore. Read somewhere, I don’t remember where or when, that the museum is a barometer of the city. This law of travel has never proven wrong. And a wonderful and grand museum the Vancouver Art Gallery is. Just look at the building’s architecture! What a crowd outside on the steps and in the outdoor cafe and in the admission line. On a Tuesday!? A promising sign even if admission was by donations only. A $15 donation can make anyone feel like a real benefactor of the arts especially compared to the $1 donation of other chaps. On exhibition: Myfanwy Macleod Or There and Back Again.

Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery
Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery.
Rotunda Stairs Vancouver Art Gallery
Rotunda stairs leading to second floor in Vancouver Art Gallery.

Yes, the inside just as impressive. A  pleasurable layout and environment. You just want to be there. All. Day. Four floors. From the first floor enter and up the stone stairs of the rotunda. Take the escalator up to floors three and four. But aaahhh, no photography except for in the rotunda. They don’t seem confident. Let’s ask someone else. “Excuse me. Is photography allowed?” “No, sir.” A blank look. Turn and walk away. But I like taking pictures in museums. It was for the best that I not. Old habits triumphed with a cinematography-esque clip.

With a dinner promise to co-workers weighing on me, I left after a much too brief 90 minutes of therapy. Approximately mid-50s and clear skies made the walk to a restaurant called simply “C” on the water’s edge bliss. And boy did arrive quickly as the video can attest to my quick step walking pace.

And some de rigueur pictures of the flight. In San Francisco en route to Vancouver.

Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco