Sunday, November 4, 2018

I Wore My Own Scars For Halloween

Who got theyself out to Nuebo Yorq last month? MEEEeee?!

It was unusually rough in the time leading up to this trip to New York though. There was certainly some energy agains us at the beginning. I felt absolutely miserable about going. For no identifiable reason. Hugo was overly anxious about his show, and just before our departure, sure enough, our bad feelings about everything manifested. But once we were on the ground and jumping into the work that thing- that force wanned into the background, it's teeth blunted.

Hopefully, it got what it all that it wanted... A small sacrifice to the What-Evers for something much better?

There are already signs of better things to come. Hugo was offered another shot at showing in Miami. That means in a few short weeks we will be back on the east coast looking out indifferently at more palm trees. Oh, and installing a mural framed video projection. There might also be some, you know, huge art fairs happening too.

Staying the month in New York wasn't all just to hang out like a tourist. I made it a point reconnected with my visual arts community. Got quite a few modeling gigs lined up for myself. It was an interesting thing to do. Certainly a test for myself. I was uncertain how I would react to the reactions of others about my scars. Turns out, it was an affirming experience all around.

Here are some jotted notes from one of my more adventurous days which had me traveling from one end of Brooklyn to the other and then across Manhattan and further, across state lines to New Jersey.
Oh be calm my over-excited heart. Last minute changes in the plan have me more scrambling than I would like. Another stop was added to my journey out to East New York, Brooklyn. I will have my hair and makeup done! This helps me feel the positive aspects of anxiousness.  
How-the-hell-ever- I got shite for sleep. The internet went down so I can't quadruple check where I am going. I have to back pack everything along with me because I don't know how what sort of delays to expects and I have another job in the evening. In New Jersey... 
I gasp at the day light. The L train has done above ground. I haven't been out this way in so very long. Out beyond Aberdeen. Probably one of the very few people in the area right now who's actually been to the original Aberdeen. Or the first York for that matter. 
I am the only one in the subway car for a few stops. The heavy human flows goes the other way at this time of day. I wish I had brought my music. That would have helped me stay calm. Calm-ish. Next stop is mine. Deep breath... 
Anxiety be hanged. Today was a wonderful day. OK, my false eyelashes didn't survive the entire time, and I had no way of touching up all the foundation on my face, but what ever. I rocked false eyelashes. For the first time in ever. I am grateful that people have been so kind to me - seemingly ever the newbie, me. I didn't know what to expect when showing off these scars to people I don't know so well. 
There is a small satisfaction to be had in being able to cross state lines of one's own accord by navigating the various forms of available public transportation. I remembered most of the way. I did not get lost. And, maybe most impressive of all, I was on time.
Men on the night train. A PATH taking them to Manhattan metro station connections.
A cookie made of so much plant protein limps through my system. I am so weary and I feel... good.

Christopher Street- Where all those guys go? Is it?

I am the Aquafina water bottle left on the seat next to me; rolling and sloshing; less than half full.

Sleep please do your thing when I land in the bed that is my bed for tonight.

When I made all my bookings, I didn't think I was over doing it... but I did. Completely. There wasn't enough time to work, to have breathing room for myself and to pay "a ton" of people social visits.
I do apologize for that.
I was just thrilled to be able to get all the work. I did take time to visit with family see some art exhibits and was taken on a mad dash at the last minute to see a banging punk rock band- The Bobby Lees. I can't even tell you when I'd last seen a good live punk band at this point. So I kinda fell in love with these guys.

Not seeing everyone and not getting around as much as I wanted doesn't upset me terribly. It does make my brain think toward another visit. One sooner than three years from now, eh?

Guys, help me make it happen!

Buy Me a Coffee at

Thursday, June 7, 2018

La Rumorosa

Before I came down with a cold for my birthday, I took a day trip- no, this was  definitely a road trip- out to Mexicali. Why? I hadn't been there! And I had a chance to go. Simple enough. 

What I knew about this city was hearsay: the only thing you can do in Mexicali is be hot, drink beer to not be so hot, but end up just being drunk and hot. And eat famously good Chinese food.

Stopping at a Starbucks in the city to use the toilet and the wifi, 

(my dudes, that is all Starbucks actually exist for in this dimention) 

I did notice a distinct spike in the number Chinese/Chinese-Mexican people in the coffee shop.

There had better be amazing Chinese food around here then, right?

And did I even try any comida china? HA! Of course not! Why, would I EVER do that?! 

I opted for a vegan place. (It was Asian fusion food, ok?!) The atmosphere was a little weird because they were in the middle of moving locations, but the food was pretty good!

Because there was no plan, there wasn't so much to do in the city itself. I could understand why people opt to drink for fun.

The ride, it turns out, was the primary reason to go.

East of Tecate you leave the scrublands and enter the Sonoran desert.
And you can almost get the bends doing it! No, not really. But, dang, my head/ears felt funny.

The route you take goes through part of the the Sierra de Juarez mountain range. So you wend up and up from sea level to 4000 feet!

The landscape shifts from TJ city sprawl (chaos); to more pristine yet methane stinking ranches and farmland; to jumbled, rocky hills; to flat a expanse of desert, a dry lake bed. 

La Rumorosa is the jumbled hills part, the winding road. It is also the name of the small town you blink-and-miss before hitting Mexicali.

It is surreal to see those mountains at first. Maybe it was just me a the time, but the land and rock formations didn't register as real to my eyes. The giant wind turbines definitely didn't help that situation.

Driving through, you get this feeling that the rubble around you would tumble down right on top of you at any moment. 

Or a gust of wind would sneak up faster than most drivers dare to go and topple you over -land you all broken on uncomfortable looking rocks 300 feet below.

The wind doesn't just whisper here. 

And entering the desert doesn't mean the weather is always hot. I've seen pictures online of the road blanketed in snow! I've love to see the hothead racers around here try the roads then! 

This is a place of death.  I wondered just how many people had died out there.

How many were taken out there to be tortured, killed, and buried to never be found.

I spied enough car bits and tires to know that many an overly confident driver did not survive La Rumorosa.

Being still so close to the US, this desolate place is also an unsanctioned crossing point. I wonder how many people thought that going through this great trial of crossing over would bring them great reward. 

I wondered how many died trying to make their delusions become reality.

Places to stop and take in the sights dot the roads. 
You share the stops with work-minded truckers and photo-happy tourists alike.

Standing there feeling like you are looking out at Mos Eisley space port, you realize you can't hear ANYTHING- when there is no traffic passing you by. 

I live on a busy boulevard. I'd forgotten what quiet was like! We got reacquainted in betwixt the vehicle noises.  

Oddly enough, I've actually been in this desert before. This one stretches up into Arizona where I'd lived for a short while.

The new experience for me was standing on the edge of that desert. I don't think I'd ever stood at the very edges of any desert before.  

One might not think it as 'pleasant' as standing on a beach. Nevertheless, there was something similarly dramatic, exciting and powerful in there.

It took me by surprise.

The place hums with its own kind of energy. I could feel why the boys would want to take their bikes and race the curves. Or why the truckers stop at the pull offs to pray near the shrines, and take a piss.

When I go out that way again, I want to visit the archeological site El Vallecito. This is a place were you are able view ancient petroglyphs. It's nothing fancy or extensive, but it's nice to be close to old things in a land where everything has been built up so recently. 

Vehicles push through/
Vulture circles close
La Rumorosa, Motile/
Mutters/Grips hard/Bites down

Silence, grandeur, death

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Productivity, thy name is... Espresso

It happened!

Before I got all my stitches removed, I hauled my butt over to-

even more warm weather, sunshine, palm trees, ocean, and Spanish. 

I took my DFSP adventure time all the way to Miami, Fla. 

We time traveled twice over: moving three hours ahead plus an hour for daylight savings time. 
So during that first week, I was simply feeling magical! -as said with a great amount of sarcasm.

I didn't know how quickly I would feel ready for doing anything.
Before this trip, I was barely recovered of the vampiric drain on my life force from two weeks of- oh hey, I have an open hole in my chest! 

(None of you are ready to see those pictures.) 

It took so long to get closed up because I don't live close to decent labs. They needed time to ship samples out and run detailed tests. And I had to get cut twice. In the first procedure they made a 6x7cm hole. In the second procedure they took out everything down to the muscle. Just to be certain there were no more defective cells left in the area. 

FYI: We are all pretty certain I am free of this cancer.

When I got my graft installed, they also sewed something on to me. 
They called it a cap. 
I called it my reward for opening a puzzle box.

(Go watch a Hellraiser movie to learn more about this important pop culture reference.) 

This cap took tension off the graft stitches and held it down/in place. A completely new realm of discomfort was opened up to me. As you can imagine, I was very happy to have that thing clipped off.

The cap experience still wasn't as bad as the wound cleaning experience. That was the highest level of pain I think I'd ever experienced in my life.

I wanted to do more than just convalesce on the trip. It was, after all, an artist residency wherein artists create new work and network. Technically, it wasn't my residency, but I didn't want to be a glum lump trailing behind. 

Spurred by the adrenaline of being in new environments and meeting new people, I was able to keep up. Mostly.

Coffee. Espresso. Helped. A lot.

We were tickled to find a moka pot in our apartment's kitchen. We used to have one in Williamsburg, you see.

Guess what souvenir came back to Rosarito with us?! No, no. We didn't steal it. We bought our own! Because moka pots are not common out west for some reason?

(Now I can sit here for hours driving myself crazy tweaking this post while sipping a double espresso!) 

Our apartment, a spartan, little place, perfect for an artist residency, was located in Wynwood.
It's a neighborhood hiding under extensive (excessive?) amounts of graffiti murals and street art.
Everything hip is located in Wynwood. Like 16oz juice blends that cost 10+usd.

Above & Beyond: Common Grounds Miami electronic dance music festival was located in Wynwood. 
Yes, we attended such a thing. Wearing ear plugs.
I was very disinclined to dance. After three dj stumbling through the same format of soundbites, enough was enough. The dude-bros' sets really sucked rude objects. 

Apparently, there is a prescribed mode of festival dress you must wear when you attend an edm festival. It looked like all the pictures of Burning Man with a sprinkle of Coachella except 200% less glamorous and/or inventive. I saw bandanas worn over faces. Were they expecting a sandstorm? 

Yes, music festivals really happened just across the street. Yes, I lost a lot of sleep to two weekends of beats. There was also a loud, bright and early Sunday morning Christian youth event that added insult to injury after the previous night's revelries cleared out in the wee hours.  

One evening was truly unbearable. The concert was pretty good, but the sound systems in the cars that parked nearby almost killed us. The overlapping bass lines rattled the walls and our brains. Bros all wanted to hang out and show off their systems or whatever. Ugh.

Interestingly, a security detail was assigned to stand watch over the residency apartment building through those long, noisy nights.  

Zak the Baker is located in Wynwood. I wanted to work there when I saw how much fun everyone was allowed to have. It was the happiest bakery I'd ever been in.

I could walk up a few blocks and see several large scale Anselm Kiefer installations in the Margulies Collection at The Warehouse. Because it's located in Wynwood. I really, really enjoyed his work in that space.

The doctor told me that I would be able to take out my remaining stitches within the second week of the trip. 
My stitches were left in Wynwood. Are they hip?

During my stay in Miami, my strength increased from not being able to carry my own bag to doing a little, silly improv movement at the studio space three weeks later. Here's an edit of it. 

this is the first edit of video i took of myself during my last night at the MANA Miami artist residency at 777 International Mall. audio provided by local artists. 
palm tree created out of junked fiberglass boats during the residency by Chicago based creative agency & production house, Ava Grey Designs.

Junk writing aside, much of the residency I spent the time sketching in a blank book that says SKETCH on the cover. 

(Hey, I was just doing what it told me to do.)

It had been a while since I'd felt the freedom to just sketch. No pressure... Pencil... Everything erasable... My mind wandered in and around the healing process. A bit Frida-ish of me, but whatever. I came up with some kinda funny/poetic/quirky ideas.

The Human put more presentable, finished ideas all over the walls of his space on the second floor of this shopping mall turned artist studio spaces.

On the first floor there was a room set up to screen Tijuana Bible no.1 and then also a couple of In Memoriams. It was the first time we had seen the videos en large in a focused context. It gave us good ideas for a future project. 

I met artists from Chicago also in the residency: ErinJan, and a couple of the guys from Ava Grey, Cesar (sp?) and Nick. 

From the studio's location we could walk to a Whole Foods where I ate as many purple fruits and veggies as I could find at the salad bar. Purple. Instinctively I went to the deep colored foods. To match the graft on my chest, I suppose. At the time it was a bruise colored patch. 

That patch looks more like a blaster mark now. 

I miss those purple salads.

Fueled with Cuban coffee, we walked as much as possible. The city is in building mode. Expansive empty lots dot the city scape. Tall buildings at every stage of construction loomed here and there. Modern's the name of the game. Or rather, it's just that other M word- money.  

It might be quite the international hub,  but Miami isn't my kind of vibe at the moment. For me to live there I'd need a good reason. A really good reason.

If you love people and people watching, I recommend paying a visit. Just don't love the people too much. Posters are everywhere warning about the dangers of syphilis.