Monday, April 28, 2008

NEXT at Artropolis

A quick look at my search logs showed an enormous increase in traffic yesterday. It was clear that most of you were looking for some substantial reporting and/or images from the NEXT art fair or (the regrettably named) Artropolis, in general. I'm not an art world insider, so sorry: no gossip about that guy with three names who had to resign from Village Voice. I've included links to some of the photo sets and commentary I've stumbled on below.

Images from NEXT:

Fair White Frogman. Next Art Fair Parts 1 & 3.



Flickr Sets







Critiques, interviews and more images:

Bad at sports: episode 138 & 139 NEXT art fair. Artropolis

Art or Idiocy: Artropolis and Version-towne


photo: Lone Motel. Tracey Snelling

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Music: Lee Hazlewood

In 1970, after a long career writing and producing hits for other artists (Duane Eddy, Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra, among others), Lee Hazlewood went to Stockholm to make a television special, A Cowboy in Sweden. He later recorded an album of the same name, the first of several produced in Sweden. 13 was released in 1972, and has been a sought-after rarity among collectors on this side of the Atlantic. The label Smells Like Records reissued the album, which is how I happened to hear a couple of the songs in a mix someone made for me. "Ten or Eleven Towns Ago" has one of the best rhymes in the history of pop music: "San Francisco" and "Nabisco."

"Lee Hazlewood" Wikipedia [Link]
Smells Like Records [Link]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

NEXT Art Fair

Update: For links to photo sets and commentary on Artropolis and NEXT, go HERE

If you live in Chicago and have Sunday or Monday free, I highly recommend visiting the Merchandise Mart to see the NEXT Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art. [Link]. It's an opportunity to view some of the most exciting new visual art in the world, and to do so up close and personal. The photo is of Paul Villinski's Lumen, one of his series of exquisite, fragile sculptures of butterflies. A similar work is at NEXT, and I was able to get within inches of it to see how it was made, and how the artist affixed the tiny sculptures to the wall. Amazingly, they are made from discarded beer cans. Paul Villinski's website: [Link]

NEXT shares the Mart with some other exhibitions, including Art Chicago, the International Antiques Fair, and Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art. Intuit is small, but I enjoyed it as well. Art Chicago was disappointing, with overstuffed floor space, and a shopping mall feel about the art. There were a few really nice pre-war Chicago paintings here and there, but if it's a decade before I see another Ed Paschke, it will be too soon. Oh, and the cafes and bars at NEXT are better than at Art Chicago, too. My favorite was the Old Country Bar, which appears to be the actual interior of a real country-western honky tonk. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, but will post photos if I find them out there on the internets.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Man on the train, talking on his cell:

"So, the woman who was interviewing me asked me what my favorite movie was. I wasn't thinking and said 'Requiem For A Dream.' She said, 'Oh, what's that about?' I said 'heroin addiction.' And then I pretty much knew I wasn't going to get the job."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Music: The 13th Floor Elevators

"You're Gonna Miss Me" was released in 1966, and was the 13th Floor Elevators' biggest hit. The Austin, Texas group, led by Roky Erikson, was one of the first garage/psychedelic bands. They were frequently cited as an influence by artists in the punk era. In 1968, Roky, who was always a little different, went completely mad. Underlying schizophrenia, mixed with mescaline and LSD, landed him in the Rusk State Hospital For The Criminally Insane. (A terrifying name, if ever I heard one) After he was released in 1972, he went back to playing music, eventually forming Rocky Erickson and the Aliens, and drifting in and out of his illness. A documentary about Erickson You're Gonna Miss Me was released in 2005.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What Number Does A Girl Dial For...

"A Fact of Society Never Before Filmed"

From X-Rated Collection: Adult Movie Posters of the 60s and 70s. There's a couple NSFW, but mostly pretty tame by present standards.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


One girl to another, sitting at a table outside the student activities office: "...I know, he's really worried about this cake we're having on Friday 'cause it says 'Celebrate Safe Sex.'"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lost in translation

I remember when news editors collectively lost it after the release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape, in 1989. Every other headline seemed to be a variation of the title, e.g. "Sex, Lies and Protein Supplements". Just so, this post has nothing to do with the Sofia Coppola film about two American expats in Tokyo. (For the record, I hope to live long enough to see Scarlett Johansson age into a botoxed has-been.)

Once again, a person asked me for directions--in Spanish. This has happened twice before, always outside the Logan Square stop of the Blue Line. Now, I am fairly tall, and also possess the glowing complexion of a vampire bride. If you had recently arrived from El Salvador, and spoke no English, would you approach a giant blue-white woman and ask her for directions? I just don't get it. Perhaps I look kind; or perhaps I look like someone who will actually try to answer, using amusingly mangled high-school Spanish.

One morning while I was waiting for the Diversey bus, two men who looked like laborers asked me for the time. Actually, one man said "Excuse" and pointed at his wrist. Sure, I could have just shrugged, or shown him the time on my cell phone. But why waste an opportunity to speak another language poorly? ",never mind...Diez!...y...y...cinquenta. No, no...QUINCE!" I pumped my fist in the air, and they applauded.

photo: Julio's Auto Supply, at Diversey and Sacramento

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Music: Marianne Faithfull

*embedding disabled. See it here:

The song is Serge Gainsbourg's "Hier ou Demain," sung by Marianne Faithfull in the musical Anna, made for French TV in 1967. A talented singer-songwriter and with a fresh, natural-looking beauty, Faithfull was unfortunately also a drug addict, especially of cocaine. In 1979, after a harrowing decline that included losing custody of her son and living on the street, she released the acclaimed solo album Broken English. Her once silvery voice had been ravaged and lowered by years of drug abuse, and seemed to belong to a different person.

The last verse and chorus translated (to the best of my abilities):

Hier est si loin déjà
Et je ne t'aimais pas.
Et dès demain si tu penses à moi
Je ne serai plus là.

Hier ou demain,
Je t'aurais dit oui.
Hier ou demain,
Mais pas aujourd'hui.

Yesterday is already long gone
And I didn't love you.
And tomorrow, if you think of me
I won't be there any more.

Yesterday or tomorrow,
I would have said yes to you.
Yesterday or tomorrow,
But not today.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Les Sucettes

France Gall and deliciously sleazy Serge Gainsbourg, singing about a girl's love for anise-flavored suckers. Tragically, the version where Gall is accompanied by dancers dressed as giant sucettes was pulled from YouTube. A pic of real frenchie sucettes is here. Gall insisted that she had no idea that the song, which was written by Gainsbourg, could be perceived as a double entendre.

Annie aime les sucettes
Les sucettes à l'anis
Les sucettes à l'anis
Donnent à ses baisers
Un goût ani-
sé lorsque le sucre d'orge
parfumé à l'anis
Coule dans la gorge d'Annie
Elle est au paradis

Annie likes lollipops,
Anise-flavored lollipops,
Annie's anise-flavored lollipops
give her kisses
an anise taste
And when the barley sugar
flavored with anise
trickles down Annie's throat
she is in paradise.

Have a restful weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


For our upcoming reunion, my former classmates have been trading bios. It's an interesting exercise in creative writing, compressing 27 years of life into single email. Here's mine, with names and places altered or removed, mostly to prevent this from ending up in internet search results for a particular person:

I was waiting for someone with a life more boring than mine to step
forward, but so far no dice...

After an extended period of driving my parents nuts while "working on my portfolio," I decided to try my luck in Chicago. I got a job with a designer who is somewhat of a legend in corporate branding. Through him I mostly learned to love luxury, if not necessarily afford it. My boss lived in a high-rise condo with an expansive view of the city, owned a Porsche, wore Armani sports jackets and ate this special cheese called "Brie." I got to cut checks for his dry-cleaner, and occasionally he would let me design something. My feelings weren't hurt, since the creative director had to take the Porsche in to be detailed.

After that, I worked for an illustration studio on Michigan Avenue. One of the studio heads created the Keebler Elves, and we continued to get work with the characters. I did do some original illustration, but mostly I inked and colored many, many story-boards of those little guys. I also made quite a few animatics (right term?), storyboards with movable parts. I remember laboring over one featuring Mr. T. I pity the fool who had to write the copy for that ad. The firm's real bread and butter was airbrush photo retouching; they did most of images for the Virginia Slims account. Then, this technology called "digital photo editing" appeared. The studio invested in one of the early digital editing systems, and laid off a number of staff, including all of the retouchers.

I got out of commercial art because of a toothache. A friend at [ ] University told me about a clerical position open in the library. Along with a steady paycheck, they offered good dental coverage. After 20 years, I'm still working on my portfolio. Seriously, after being in various departments in the library, I realized that academe and me go together pretty well. I earned my MLS, and now work primarily at the business library. Although I still love and appreciate it, my drive to actually make art has all but evaporated.

I married my husband, J, in 1996; we don't have kids. He has an M.S. in Anthropology and is now an IT Project Manager, so we have both wandered rather far afield from our youthful ambitions. Last summer, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because lymph nodes were involved, I got the full barrage of treatment: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

Yesterday, I had coffee with a man I met at the cancer treatment center. He's 38 years old and has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. As I took a cab home, I called my mom, and started telling her about him, and then acquaintances who have been touched by cancer. I can only imagine what the conversation sounded like to the driver.."White blood cell count...Stage IV...radiation burn...cancercancercancercancercancer."

Anyway, it's easy to let cancer to take over your life, or at least most of the real estate in your brain. Remembering [ ] and laughing at the stories, especially ones from the unholy trinity of [ ], has been a great morale booster. Thank you.

Roger's story about being warned by Richard A. that only fatal van accidents would be excused, reminded me of one particular acid comment of his. That brought to mind other memorable quotes by faculty. If you think I misremembered any of these...well, prove it.

Richard A.: (to talkative girl in class):

"Continue to interrupt me until I hemorrhage."

Dean C. (at Freshman orientation, gesturing toward young men in
the audience):

"Girls...Don' trust these bums."

This was a prelude to a stern lecture about a certain STD that
allegedly spread through the dorms the previous year. Thinking I may
have imagined this speech, I got independent confirmation from a
classmate who was there.

Nathaniel L.:

"I smelled something funny, and realized that I had put the f.....g
ham in the f.....g oven with the f.....g plastic wrapper still on it!"

Having grown up in a sheltered home, I wasn't accustomed to hearing
obscenities, especially THAT one. Mr. L. came from the east
coast, and cheerfully cursed like a sailor while discussing, for
example, whether you should thin your paint with linseed oil or
turpentine. I had never heard so many F-bombs in my life. Now, I live
in a neighborhood where 10-year-old boys say it all the time. He was a
fantastic teacher, and almost turned me into a good painter.

Dennis D. (throwing a sheet of drawing paper on the floor and
leaving his shoe print on it):

"There. Now you have something to react to."

He wanted students to lose their inhibitions and fear of making
mistakes, thus the dramatic gesture with his shoe print. He made a
point of praising drawings which, although lacking in draftsmanship,
were well-designed, or displayed sensitive line and texture. A great

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday Music: The Lemon Pipers

One of the comments in Youtube really says it best: "Jesus, the lead singer is BAKED!!!" And the set designer must have been high as a kite, too. The Lemon Pipers were a bubblegum/psychedelic band from Oxford, Ohio, and "Green Tambourine" was the #1 hit of 1968.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Vintage Cross-dressing

From Least Wanted, a collection of police photos going back to the 19th century. Warning: You will become mesmerized and spend at least an hour in here.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hi Mom

My mom wanted to know how my hair was coming, so here ya go. It grew back curly, which I have heard is common with post-chemo hair. It should eventually return to it's normal texture. There's quite a bit more gray in there than is evident in the photos, but for now I'm leaving it as is. Time for a haircut...the first I've had since July.