I guess I have a similar thing, or like a secular version-- Lately I've been trying to toughen up a little more by doing a blast of cold water at the end of a shower, or just cold from start to finish. I have a song I sing to time it. The cold shower thing is something I've done and off for years, having read somewhere that 2 minutes of cold water is good for depression. We used to call it "the Power Shower", for positive branding reasons. Now in addition to the perfectly good antidepresso reason, I've been doing it just to have a little more casual practice doing things I dread. Does that make sense? The more times I willfully twist the knob to pure cold, the less I find myself hesitating in other tasks. It's like I'm practicing overriding the comfort addict. In that regard I guess it's half exercise half penance. I think it's working, tho... after I do it I find it's easier to jump into other habits I've been struggling to adopt. As the old Sumerian proverb goes, "act promptly, make your god happy". Oh right and the song I sing is "Stardust". It's a great song, sort of a langorous belter, good for bathroom acoustics.
In other benchmark news, World Snake Day is coming up yet againe, this Thursday. I love World Snake Day because I love snakes, I love the world (Earth), and I love the day-- to lay it bare, it's the same day as my birthday, July 16. I'm not going to say how old I'm turning but it's a prime number, which I consider auspicious. My plan is to eat a lemon cake.
Reader MailAs a small birthday present to myself, I'm opening the mailbag and rolling around in it. Everybody keep sending notes, it's like the only reason to keep doing it other than "I guess I'll just keep doing it", which is honestly still numero uno :)
It reminds me of this thing that Georgia O'Keefe wrote in a catalog of one of her early shows...
"A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower — the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower — lean forward to smell it — maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking — or give it to someone to please them. Still — in a way — nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.
So I said to myself — I’ll paint what I see — what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it — I will make even busy New-Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.
Well — I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower — and I don’t."
- Joshua H
Thank you! after reading this Georgia O quote I made it so you can zoom way in on the flower and it fills the screen. But then I found that the effect was too disorienting so I changed it back. Now it's not a gateway to another world, or not especially so, it's a flower again. Oh, but I did make it so you can pick the flower and carry it around, just like Isao. :) Sorry this won't work on a phone or tablet.
Great getting all linked up with you a few weeks ago.
I don't know why I have a linked in account but after years of thinking that it's the worst social media site on the planet (and still thinking that) I find myself sort of obsessed with it. I love logging on and seeing what everyone says their job is! it's like a neopets feeling.
I sent the link to the Tora san movies in a private message, I don't know why I can't just post the link but it seems wrong. I feel like everyone uses a few of these confusing grey market flash streaming movie websites and no one ever shares the link because they don't want their spot to blow up. I'm everyone.
if you're specifying amp brand, why not Orange?
Loved the show!
ahhhh great question Lance. I think I gotta go with Peavy because that symbolizes "American Shit Noise" to me. That said I just added a new page--
Damn I miss shows and gatherings, and a nice spread of finger food... Here's my top snacks at shows, from memory:
- Mimi Chrzanowski comic book release at Ada Books, 2016: off-brand dew, box wine, hot cheetos, sno-balls, non-standard candy vines (pine apple AND green apple?), orange soda pop tarts. I think the book was her Dante riff that Czap Books put out, which I loved.
- Erik Satie birthday concert, hosted by Noraa Kaplan, multiple years: Satie claimed that he only ate white food so this event features white food only! Marshmallows, rice crackers, certain cheeses, bread, white wine, white chocolate, parsnips, etc.. I don't love Satie's music to be honest but I'm a big "varied interpretations" fan and I had a great time every year.
- Bach to the Future, hosted by Sakiko Mori, multiple years: coffee all night (7pm to 7am) plus a huge bag of bananas and a few trays of pasta with sauce that get delivered at exactly midnight every year. I love Bach, this is a very regular ripper.
- Random Gear Fest, hosted by Ren Schofield, multiple years: several free pizzas available for anyone there at the beginning (brilliant). Plus the year it was at Tommy's they had homemade potato chips! All musicians drew from a hat just before their set to determine what the instrumentation was going to be. Noise Nomads played a clarinet, a baby cello, a mandolin and a sitar. Dave Public played a PVC pipe, an Italian dinner, and a harmonica. mem1 played 3 cars and a fire extinguisher. AND there was free pizza!!! Best noise fest? This reporter says... ...yes.
- Publicly Complex, poetry reading series hosted by Kate Schapira and others at Ada Books: sort of small but ultimately good size for the occasion homemade chocolate chip cookies, seltzer. Great series, always worth checking out.
- Jeff Hartford at HBML: I asked him what he wanted for snacks and he said "Chips and salsa", for some reason that blew my mind at the time.
- Xander Marro at HBML: Hydrox cookies and tea. Not oreos but the off-brand oreos that are accidentally vegan as a cost-cutting measure. With tea.
- Honorable mention: this is apocryphal but I read somewhere that at Yves Klein's 1958 show at Iris Clert he served white wine that had a colorless chemical in it that made you piss blue hours later! Sadly can't locate the hard facts on this, only apocrypha. I could imagine reviews of the time thinking it was gauche to mention the snacks on hand, and even more so "weird piss". But that doesn't mean it was underreported-- its very possible it just didn't happen. If anyone reading this did their dissertation on Klein, piss-adjacent artwork, or snacks, please write.
Ah! Noted and changed. I'd rather be corrected than be wrong!
PS Crab-like/dog-like really resonated w me - one summer when I was writing descriptions the audio tour included a stop that compared 7 or 8 colonial chairs to demonstrate regional style differences, which made my job "somehow meaningfully describe the minor variations in these guys' paws without being overly technical." Having the wiggle room to invoke more personality would have helped.
PPS I wrote descriptions for Quilts & Color, too; I love that show & if I remember right the catalog is really good!
Hi Ali, thanks for coming! I didn't think about the education perspective, but yeah I could see this being the start of many a nice morning class-- walk through the museum then everybody do 5 riffs on a painting and list what phone calls you'd make to have them manufactured. :)
I have a few of these exhaustive riff notebooks, though few are literally notebooks- in each case there are some that are obvious, some that are clever, and some that just bleed through the wall from an X dimension, those are the best ones but you have to run and write them down immediately or they drift away. Crayon in eraser was dimension X all the way.
About the feet, my dad was an interior decorator and I remember talking with him about furniture paws once, like why doesn't all our furniture have cool little feet? He was like yeah I know and I was like, if we agree then what's the problem here. See also "pizza night is the best night".
(I know this isn't exactly what we're talking about but I just paused this letter to look up claw feet "just the feet" on ebay-- they aren't as much as I thought but they're still out of budget)
I loved that quilt show, I took notes and I think about it all the time. Was it 2015 or 2014? My notes say 2015 but the website says 2014. Is it possible it was held over? Or called back? Was it at the MFA and got moved to the ICA or did I just botch the notes? Also just realized that transcribing my notes from this led to a rubber stamp obsession that continues to this day!
Links / Misc
- Asylum is under attack-- this villainous administration has proposed regulations that seek to end asylum. We have until July 15 to submit our public comments and refuse them. For more info see: [instagram]
- here's a good list of other links for groups / people in need of support right now: [linktree].
- Arthur sent a link to Club A NYC, which has been distributing food and supplies to hundreds of people a day. To support check out their instagram [instagram] or blast their gofundme [gofundme]. Arthur also has a birthday on World Snake Day and is also entering a prime number year! Happy birthday to a real one.
- Great version of "Stardust": [youtube]. Great version with optimal bathroom acoustics: [youtube]
- There are no "traditional activities" for World Snake Day, and I don't have a great recommendation for a good Snake Movie to watch, but I do have a great recommendation for a website about movies about snakes, it's the California Herpetological Society's "Snakes In Movies" page. Rarely do you come across such a fun and thoughtful website. [link]
Ok thanks for indulging me in this letter column, I promise not to do this all the time. If you want to drop me a line just send an email or hit the contact page: [link]. And if you want to subscribe to these posts by email, you can do so on the substack-- [link]. --------- end new writing --------------------------------------------->