Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Building in the NY Times Again

A few days ago, I wrote about some people in my building making into the NY Times wedding section, then The Daily Show. Today in the New York Times Real Estate Column "The Hunt," the couple profiled cites my building (without giving an addresss) as part of the horror of looking for a place in New York City. The issue is that they were trying to sublet an apartment and had to be interviewed by the board. But it sounds like the relator was not giving them good info--the board does not do phone interviews and never agreed to interview them a week later, there was already a board meeting set.

Anyway, at least they said the board was nice.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Graduate School is for Suckers

Okay, so those of you who know me know that I have a big graduate school milestone coming up. If you don't know this, I'm not going to tell you what it is until it is over because I am deep in it and feeling a little crazy. I would say I am leaving you in the dark because I don't want to drag you down with me, but really, it is just because I don't want to talk about it in any detail. I just want it to be over with, for good or ill, preferably for good. Matt has been wonderful about my daily bouts of neurosis and just plain crazy, but I am certain he wants it over with too. Actually everyone that knows me wants it over with because I'm fairly sure that the stress vibrations coming off me count as an environmental pollutant. And the real kicker is, this is all for graduate school, an experience I have loathed from the beginning. Seriously, Matt asked me last week if I had enjoyed any part of grad school and what was my answer you ask? Why yes, I did enjoy one part of graduate school, the Project PUENTE part, you know, the part where I was on a leave of absence and running a middle-school afterschool program, that part. What am I doing with my life?!
Apparently, I am reading. Reading a lot. Reading all of that plus more. Lots more. And I'm still getting bitch-slapped for not including a wide-enough historical base in my lists. Of course I have read all the historical stuff, and taken courses in it, and designed my own independent studies around it, but I couldn't put it all on my lists, that would be padding. Instead I have to apologize for not including it and then talk about it anyway because it isn't just the grad students who are crazy, it is also the professors who shall remain nameless. Since when do anthropologists care about history anyway? I mean really, this is a discipline that has made a tradition of covering the historical background of their fieldsites in one chapter starting in the primordial age and ending the day before the ethnographer hit town, and this is usually the shortest chapter in the book.

I was a history minor. I live with a historian and am related to another one. Funny, no? Serves me right for dealing with a professor who toyed with history before switching to anthro and knows that I have a background in it too.

My summary comment, Graduate School is for suckers, and crazy people, and currently I qualify on both counts. I am sorry if this rant left you feeling a bit crazy too.

But at least this isn't you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daily Show

Those of you who watched the Daily Show last night may have seen Jon Stewart mocking the new video section of the New York Times wedding annoucements, in which couples tell the story of how they met. It was pretty funny. Even funnier was the fact that the couple Stewart made fun of live in my building. I feel a little bad, because they are basically nice people. But it was still pretty hilarious.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Golden Globes

On Monday, Kristen, Lucie and I had a great time watching the Golden Globes. It was especially fun as, after years of tasteful but boring dresses, stars seemed to have returned to wearing some truly hideous outfits. (Yes, Cameron Diaz, I'm talking about you). Kristen made delicious snacks, including meatballs with Indian spices, mango lassi, and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Poor Lucie spent most of the night eyeing the meatballs. I forgot my camera, but Kristen sent me this lovely picture.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I am moving out of my Williamsburg studio- a process that involves pushing around much dusty bubblewrap. It is strangely fun, I keep finding work I forgot about, but a little grim too- welding is so sooty, and the building has been a construction site for several years. Dust! Dirt! Grime!

Pictures to come! Or perhaps you can imagine - steel wrapped in plastic, vintage cartons from liquor stores mixed with brand new cartons from the container store, dirty fingernails. Need any lightbulbs?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cam's Pizza

Slice New York has an article on Cam's Pizza, which has locations in both Geneva and Oswego. I haven't had any in a while, but this article makes me want to order some next time I'm upstate.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Anders Rocks Out

Sarah sent me these pictures of Anders wearing his Christmas gift from me. I'm a little skeptical about hipster babies, but I couldn't resist this shirt.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Words of Wisdom from Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Hosmer wrote the following in a thank you note to her best friend in 1896:

"And then all the pretty gifts are so useful, the very things I want. That is the charm of a gift--not only in usefullness but the thought that the absent friend is so much a part of yourself that she knows exactly of what you are thinking and what wishing for."

My thoughts on gifts exactly.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Belated Happy Birthday

In what is becoming my annual post-Christmas illness, I missed two important birthdays on January 7, my father and my Uncle John.

Here are some pictures Dad sent me this morning.

Ezra playing with birthday ballons.

Dad in Irish sweater, trying to keep warm in 5 degree weather in Colorado

And here is Johnny with Higgins, who is much bigger now.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jody in Show Curated by Kathy

LUXE Gallery,
24 W. 57th Street # 505
New York, NY 10019
January 13th - February 10th , 2007

Opening Reception: Saturday January 13th, 2007. 6-8pm.

LUXE proudly presents "The Nightly News" an exhibition curated by
Kathleen Goncharov and Stephan Stoyanov

Reading by Charles Doria and performance by Pia Lindman. Saturday, February 3. 6 PM.

Artists: Robert Boyd, caraballo-farman, Jody Culkin, Lieven De Boeck, Al Fadhil, Liselot van der Heijden, Dominik Lejman, Ahmet Ogut, Pedro Lasch, Pia Lindman, Christodoulous Paniyatou, Jackie Salloum, Lydia Venieri, Michael Waugh, Fred Wilson, Michael Zansky, and others.

The Nightly News is an exhibition of works by artists from around the world, some showing in New York for the first time. These artists were born in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Belgium, Poland, Mexico and Finland, as well as the United States. Current events and issues such terrorism, war, surveillance, xenophobia, racism, religious fanaticism, immigration, nationalism, and the abuse of power drive the exhibition.

Christodoulous Panayiotou's video Alkadaslar depicting jet fighters drawing a heart in the sky was commissioned at the British military base in Cyprus. It was first shown in Athens where Panayiotou won the prestigious Deste Foundation Prize. It was later projected on the top of the Marmara Hotel, one of Istanbul's most prominent buildings. It was timed to coincide with a visit from the Greek foreign minister who was in Turkey to help ease tensions between the two countries after the collision of two military planes. Ahmet Ogut's video Light Armoured was also first presented in the adjacent square from the Marmara Hotel. This animation features a Land Rover, transformed into a tank, being hit with stones thrown from off-screen. Despite the fact that the image is generic with no national identification, the Turkish police shut it down believing it incited terrorism. Paranoia is also the subject of Dominik Lejman's video of ice skaters at Rockefeller Center unknowingly being spied upon by surveillance helicopters.

Jackie Salloum 's cleverly packaged mock toy called Caterrorpillar enthusiastically advertises its effectiveness in destroying Palestinian homes, commenting on Israel's use of American made Caterpillar bulldozers. Lydia Venieri also ironically conflates war and play in her deceptively saccharine photographs of dolls whose eyes reflect the conflicts they see around the world. An ineffectual and contrite Superman can be seen flying over the remains of Falluja after the US invasion of the Iraqi city in Al Fadhil's photo-collage. An accompanying photograph retells the plight of immigrants who feel compelled to leave their troubled homelands.

Fred Wilson also addresses immigration and the persistent xenophobia that permeates Western society with works first seen at the US Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. His moors holding candelabras are modern replicas of an 18th Century stereotype still ubiquitous in Venice. These figures represent the explosive potential of continued racism and anti-Muslim bias around the world and a plea to put out the flames. Lieven De Boeck also sees alternatives in his White Flag project. This installation presents the 192 flags of the United Nations members stripped of national or ideological symbolism. All crosses, stars, crescents, eagles, etc. are cut away and the colors fade to white, the color of peace and negotiation.

Michael Waugh's drawing, Heading East, Heading West, uses images and text from a WWII era book on submarine warfare combined with a Nautica ad. His submarines fly the Nazi and Texas flags respectively. Liselot van der Heijen deals more specifically with our Texan-in-Chief. Her video, See Evil, Hear Evil, Speak Evil is a parody of the deceptive and manipulative use of language in which she has eliminated all but the word evil from George Bush's State of the Union address. Michael Zansky also addresses US politics with his images showing a Dorian Gray version of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld visible despite their placid exteriors. This work is a literal interpretation of Walter Benjamin's pessimistic view that history is best understood through an analysis of the debris that it leaves behind.

The media is the subject of Pedro Lasch's rapid-fire video consisting of stills taken from the BBC and other sources showing figures in masks and hoods. Pia Lindman transforms photographs of grieving people taken from the front page of the New York Times, reproducing these images by means of simple line drawings and mimicing their actions. Similarly, the collaborative team, caraballo-farman manipulates and simplifes newspaper images of grief-stricken individuals from the Mid-East conflict. The rich darks and deep shadows in these photographs recall old master paintings and the universal nature of sorrow depicted in them.

Holland Cotter calls Robert Boyd's video series Xanadu a "trailer for the Apocalypse" set to a disco beat. Heaven's Little Helper, a segment from this epic, uses footage of Doomsday-cult gurus and their disciples to expose the religious fanaticism rampant today. Jody Culkin's version of a burqa, the garb worn by conservative Islamic women and sometimes forced upon them by men, is an alternative to what has become, whether right or wrong, a symbol of religious intolerance. Her garment is made of diaphanous material and is equipped with motorized wings for a quick escape.

The exhibition also features a reading by Charles Doria of poems written in response to current events and a performance by Pia Lindman who will reenact images of grief taken from the media.

Kathleen Goncharov is an independent curator and critic. She has served as Adjunct Curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, US Commissioner to the 50th Venice Biennale, Public Art Curator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Curator of the Collection at The New School. She lives and works in New York City.

For further information, please contact Director, Stephan Stoyanov or Nora Klumpp on (212) 582- 4425.

I Love Manohla Dargis

Manohla Dargis is by far my favorite movie reviewer at the New York Times, if not my favorite movie reviewer working today. I think she comes closer than anyone to Pauline Kael, with her wide ranging and idiosyncratic taste and way with a catty but insightful phrase. Take today's review of Alpha Dog: "Alpha Dog" has much the same entertainment value you get from watching monkeys fling scat at one another in a zoo or reading the latest issue of Star magazine."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Joan Didion on Martha Stewart

Joan Didion has long been one of my favorite writers, and, as I have mentioned before, I love Martha Stewart, even if I think she is a little crazy. So, I was thrilled when I learned that Martha was going to have Didion (one seems to call for a first name and one seems call for a last name reference) on the show yesterday. I was envisioning a surreal scene, in which Martha scolded her guest for not chopping the onions finely enough, but it was actually a quite respectful conversation about Didion's recent work, including the Year of Magical Thinking. I've never seen anything quite like it on Martha--I got the feeling that she just really admired the writer and wanted to have on her the show. I had hoped to find the interview on YouTube, but actually nothing comes up under Joan Didion. Maybe that shouldn't surprise me, but it did.

Monday, January 08, 2007

News Happens

I have been in the NYU library all day. Apparently an unpleasant odor has engulfed the city and one source may be a gas leak at the intersection a block from my apartment. Bloomberg is saying that the odor is harmless. Isn't that what officials said about the air right after 9/11--the air that now many people think was carcenogenic.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Woman Appointed Deputy Secretary General at UN

Nancy Pelosi isn't the only woman to be the first to assume a major position of power last week- Asha-Rose Mtengeti-Migiro, the foreign minister of Tanzania, was appointed deputy secretary general at the United Nations. Read the Times article.

Friday, January 05, 2007

DVR at last!

Yes, I finally broke down and got DVR. I am looking for suggestions of shows to tape. So far (I have had it for an hour and a half) I have set it up to record many movies, a few episodes of Heroes, and a couple of Monk episodes.

Luckily I will never have to sleep through The Daily Show and the Colbert Report again.

Pan's Labyrinth

If I saw you anytime in 2004, you probably had to listen to me talk about Hellboy- the conversation went something like this; "Hellboy- it's a really good movie!" Admittedly, I didn't have anything that interesting to say about Hellboy, but a movie that involved portals into hell, baby demons, Nazi scientists, copious amounts of pizza and the catholic church was bound to catch my attention. Guillermo del Toro directed, with a lot of humor and unusual visual richness.

He has a new movie, "Pan's Labyrinth". This movie is set in Franco's Spain. I haven't seen it- I heard him talk about it at ComicCon in San Diego and saw some clips. If I only see one movie during my winter break, this is it.

The trailer... (I am usually resistant to trailers that start with "In a dark time", but this movie promises to be good!)

Here's a link to an interview with the director on Salon, you can download the audio file

My Robot

My new hobby is playing around with my Lego Mindstorms NXT robot kit. Here's a picture of my first efforts. I had some money left to spend on a grant, and thought why not? It's got bluetooth!

Playing with this reminds me of building Lego with Eric when he was 5 or so.

Monday, January 01, 2007

More pics of Christmas in Oswego

A few more pics of Christmas in Oswego. Frank is pictured in Greene's, a bar that became a home away from home this trip. As you can see, Hosmer is feeling much better.