n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, April 30, 2006

two events, moderately different

Well, I’ve been keeping so busy with work and procrastination (browsing the web, reading about the Middle East mostly) that I haven’t had a chance to really do anything of particular interest for a while. No, that’s not true; “of particular interest to anyone else” would be more accurate. Everything’s been great for me: visiting friends every so often, dying eggs, walking along the beach, going to thesis readings and plays, getting a fishing job for part of the summer, gossiping with one of my best friends over the phone—all great stuff. But now I’m ready to post a couple of items of particular note, especially as they are accompanied by pictures, which I have been lax and lackadaisical about taking. Here goes.


My friend sb has been so overwhelmed by the work it takes to co-curate an exhibition that I’ve been fretting about whether she would pull every last one of her hairs out. I see her at work and she has that “wild look in her eyes," something halfway between a sugar-low and a creature going into the branding cage. I never really knew how much work it takes to curate a show, but apparently it takes quite a bit: organizing, selecting, encouraging, cajoling, advertising, getting a space, catering food, installing the work, repairing shelves that fall down, and so forth.

I volunteered to help out a bit, but time had it so I wasn’t able to. However and much to my relief, sb took me up on my offer to help serve food at the reception. She and the others working on the exhibition were generous with their thanks, but I was pleased to pitch in… I think I would have been annoyed with myself if there was nothing for me to do. So, I dressed up in all black and showed up to walk smiley-faced around the room and give people good lickings.

The catered food was wonderful; I got to taste some of the hummus and vegetables, artichoke dip, and roasted vegetables, but not the mozzarella with basil, tomatoes and bread, or any of the other food that disappeared in a lickety-split. Turned out there were a couple of errors on the food side of affairs: only 100 people were catered for, but the reception exceeded expectations and at least 200 people came through, many of whom showed up ten minutes early. Whoosh. The other food error was the assumption that people come to galleries to primarily look at the art, and a few snips of food per plate is sufficient. But man, these folks came to get dinner.

Reeeeee-reeeeee. Oink, reeeeeeeeeeee.

To wax off-topic for a while, I have to say I've never seen such gluttony—people piled their plates four layers high and came back for seconds. I wanted to don an English accent and say, “By jove, blokes, you musn’t have seen grub for ov’r a decade now.” Just a little note: by the time I was five years old, my momma had taught me to be polite and spartan on the first round until everybody had found something to eat. After that point, you check to see if anything’s left; if so, then you can be an oinker. Gallery protocol, m’lads n'ladies. I know I go to get a nip of food sometimes, but jeesh.

The worst, to continue on this bent, were the older folks, particularly the women. A couple came in wearing some crazy wigs (I swear one wig looked like a cow patty, grassy and gnarled on the flat-plop), and came back to the table for more than one massive helping within the first fifteen minutes. One women in a pink jacket even gave us shit on her third run for having run out of crackers for the hummus, and then went and snarled for her fourth glass of free wine. After this, she went to the desert bowl—which was a collection of Ghiradelli chocolates—and found herself a collection of about ten of them, which she took back to her table, ate one, and put the rest in her pocket.

My favorite moment was when a woman looked at the ceiling while backhanding a chocolate into her purse. I saw her from behind.

So, that was how I spent my rather intriguing evening: watching the voracious appetites of folks, some of whom, I might add, were very polite and decorous, taking an appetizer and grinning their thanks while inspecting the artwork around them.

To get back on topic, I will say that I was quite taken with the art. The theme of the exhibition was “navigation / negotiation” and was about how people with disabilities move through the world, negotiating both their physical and mental worlds, and navigating through the expectations, judgments, and curiosities of the people who view them.

My favorite piece was by a woman who has ectrodacytilism (commonly known as “lobster-claw syndrome”). She created a pair of wooden platform clogs that fit her feet, but with a huge dinosaur-like claw coming out of the top. She also had a gorgeous photograph of her standing in the shoes while poised as if ready to pounce. The title was “Armed and Dangerous,” and so I interpretted the photograph and shoes as partially being about adaptation and power. But a friend pointed out that the shoes recalled the different historical bindings of feet. This friend read the picture and shoes as being about pain. I think what I like about both the shoes and the photograph is that they are flexible enough to read either way.

Other art included a sheet with a print of a human on it and thousands of red hand-stitches over the body in a variety of sutures that recalled (for me) viruses and cells and cancers and platelets. The girl in the photograph here seemed to be pretty interested in it.

More art that caught my attention: a cross that was jeweled with lit prescription bottles along its surface, a series of photographs of a girl putting on her prosthetic leg and then clothing herself, another of the same photographer/model standing before the ocean on her one leg, with a swath of littered seaweed separating her and the water. A sculpture of a woman curled into herself and covered with thousands of definitions and articles on disability. And of course, quite a few other prints and objects that invoke what it means to move through a landscape as an “other” so defined by limitations and prescripted labels.

Okay, Chicago-ites. I am now going to make my plug. You missed the reception (not to mention seeing me dolled up in black, sashaying through the people), but you haven’t yet missed the exhibition. It lasts until June 12, and is at the Gene Siskal Center, free admission. It’s a worthwhile visit and will make you think about your body.

So, that was my evening. But I also got to enjoy being treated to dinner afterwards, partially on the tips that were collected from the niceys. And chatting with a couple of new friends who I haven’t had the chance to get to know yet. Always good times.

Derby Party

On a “slightly” different note, I also went to a derby party, put on by mr, Kentucky hostess extraordinaire. When I arrive a couple of hours after the start, the Mint Juleps had already been sucked down, but when I tasted from one of my friend’s, I didn’t fret about it too much. Can’t stand Bourbon, and I want my mint toothpaste separate from alcohol. So, I started with wine and went from there.

Luckily, I also ran into another MFA-er on the subway—a second-year who I hadn’t officially met yet—and asked her if she was going to the party. She said no, but changed her mind sometime around when she walked past her house. I am quite pleased she came because it meant I wasn’t the only one dancing by myself. Also of note in the dancing department are mr and lh. Not to mention mh, who can do the Roger Rabbit. I didn’t even know what the Roger Rabbit was before last night.

All in all, the race was a little short-lived: it ended around 1:30 when rk staged a coup and took 3/4's of the guests off to the nearby pub. But really, that’s what you get when you gather a bunch of writers together and don’t throw in enough graphic designers, mathematicians, film people, art history chics and psychics (haha). Personally, I go to pubs too often, but the chance to see folks dolled up in dresses, carrying snapguns, dancing, and wearing neat-o hats and stripy pants doesn’t come every day for me. So, I stuck around until the nightbell tolled.

Then I went back, rousted mr out of bed in her bathrobe, and collected some forgotten goods. Whoops.

Favorite quote of the evening: "I have perfectly-shaped breasts. It's true."
I support this.
support is good. especially for a healthy back. (heheh)
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