Monthly Archives: March 2007

What is Community? The after-school special

Working at the gallery has lead me into the heart of “community”, a word that I’ve always associated with surbanite moms getting together for Tupperware parties or the Friday Lenten fish fry at the church. But after only volunteering there 2 or 3 times, I’m seeing that what I am doing has nothing to do with “making sure nobody steals the art”. In the 6 hours I have spent in the gallery, I have gotten 2 visitors. In both cases, the art itself was not the focus of their visit. They would politely stop in front of each sketch and oil painting; from the outside looking very involved and deep in thought over the colors and strokes, but inside I knew they had alternative reasons for come in. I know this because I have done it hundreds of time. (Going into American Eagle or Tower Records, perusing, trying to convey my intense interest in the subjects to the employees, in order to, wordlessly, show them my perfect match to their company, then timidly asking if they need summer help.) So these 2 people did the same, and I gave them their space to enjoy and recollect their thoughts. Then they both hesitantly approached me where I sit reading my Vogue article about the new biography on Denys Finch Hatton, the real life man behind Robert Redford’s character in ‘Out of Africa’. (1900’s European settlers in Africa is slowing becoming my flavor of the week, replacing my love of Andy Warhol as I exhausted his life last month).

One man in his mid 60’s started talked to me about how he used to paint back in the day in high school and college, but has redirected his passion to the jazz guitar. He wanted to know if we would be interested in having his jazz band play at opens or events. I excitedly emailed the owner, proud of doing my part to make this from-the-ground-up volunteer-run gallery into a thriving cultural haven.

Last night a woman came in, did the art-love walkabout and approached me about putting out some flyers for a local performing arts center. I told her visitors would probably be very interested in seeing their performances and she left a stack. I thought, with a hint of frustration for the woman’s effort that we don’t get much foot traffic around here to fill their auditorium. But then I stepped back, thinking about the man from last week. The point of this place isn’t simply to look at art. It is using the art as a segway to bringing the artful talent of people together. This place is truly being built by people’s passion. Nobody is getting paid, but the desire to see this place grow is enough to keep them coming back. The first day I was there, Kathy, a dedicated volunteer, told me that they hoped that opening this gallery would bring life back into a struggling, rough neighborhood. That they felt that this could be accomplished through art. When I heard it, I gave her a warm smile, thinking that there is nothing more refreshing than an idealist. But I regret ever looking down on her naïvety. She was right. People are coming out to help build this place into a place to visit, to live.

To see how this gallery, and adjoining cafe, is making a small footprint to start:

http://www.freetimes.com/story/4992

http://www.freetimes.com/dining_lead/1449

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Like father, not like daughter

I love that my dad pushes my opinions on the music industry. We have continued a long stream of conversations about CDs, MP3, file sharing. The generation gap is very clear. I have come to a few conclusions based on my intense study of our 2 small voices in a sea of how many millions of Americans involved in the music industry, translating it into the proverbial generation gap between my 21-year-old self and his 53-year-old self. (This is my disclaimer that I may be making sweeping generalizations, but I think it points out some interesting differences)

My family goes through the MP3 player shuffle every few years. I got my first MP3 player at 15, holding an astounding 30 songs! After I advanced to one that held 65 songs (even more amazing, hold one whole playlist!) my dad got the small, less capacity one. For the next 6 years, after including my sister into the tradeshow, we have exchanged 6 different iPods and off brand players. My dad and I were discussing the iPod shuffle vs the new mega huge capacity new iPod video. I told him I wanted to trash my old 6 GB mini for the video; he wanted to get the shuffle. I didn’t understand why he would waste his money on something that only holds 100 songs; he didn’t understand why I would splurge on something so big and bulky. He preferred to look for something more compact, something he can stick in his little key pocket in his running shorts or in his breast pocket for the morning commute to work. I dream of the possibility of having every song in my library with me at all times. Could it be the extent of advancement during our times? Is dad used to the old walkman innovation when people realized they could carry their music around with them. And am I just still loving the novelty of the MP3 format, being able to squish all my music onto a CD or device (This is, in fact, what I picture when I make an MP3 format CD, that all my songs are squished shoulder to shoulder scrambling to keep up with my changing the song ever 30 seconds). We stand on our respective sides of the gap.

Today dad sent me yet another WSJ article where the music industry whines on about people stealing music and iTunes not saving the world one song at a time like they wanted (Look, I realize my husband is the shit, but you have got to give the guy a break sometimes, he is not superhuman. Or is he….) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117444575607043728-email.html? Dads comment on the article:

Music business downward spiral continues!

Business idea: A record shop that only carries OLD stuff. The big stores are not going to carry that and people might actually want to buy classic stuff to have it in hard copy. 🙂

love you….dad

My response:

You may be onto something. Maybe they need to shift marketing of CDs to the older generations (no offense) because they are more used to buying a physical CD then download it or get it on iTunes. I bet if they did a poll of the age of most iTunes customers, it would be my generation because we are more adapt to listen to our music on the computer, where you have grown up listening on records, tapes, CDs.

I also think they are just getting scared because there are no instant results. Its going to take time for a whole industry to change medias. its still only been, what, not even 10 years since file sharing because common? They need to chill out and just keep working at selling online for young people and keep up CDs of older artists for older generations.

We should probably just take over the music industry, ok? Ok cool ill get Steve jobs on the phone.

Problem solved. We may still be looking over the edge of oppoiste sides of the gap, but we seem to be building a bridge (Hopefully not like that hideous thing they just built over the Grand Canyon. http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/03/21/grand.canyon.skywalk.ap/index.html $75 to look at what it would be like to fall to your death from a national landmark. No thanks!)

Mrs. Steve Jobs

Today Apple released yet another new product to use exciting little catchphrases like “innovative” “industry-leader” “thinking inside the box” (actually I thought up that last one, kind of catchy….get me Steve on the phone). It’s called the Apple TV (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=4A256D28&nclm;=AppleTV). It lets you watch videos you have downloaded (preferably from iTunes of course) on your TV. Great idea for all of us illegal downloaders (That just doesn’t strike the gasp of America that it used to. I miss the old days when that was considered so rebellious and I’m-going-to-court-and-fighting-my-cause). But at $300 a pop, I could buy 60 movies from the 4 for $20 bin at Blockbuster. Plus, if they want people to buy from iTunes, who is going to pay for a show then pay for the device to show it on TV when the show was on TV in the first place? It’s full circle! My god he’s even a genius when his products don’t make sense! I love this man.

How are people this desperate to watch Desperate Housewives in the middle of their busy days that they need to pay more for it to go on their iPod so they can watch it while they are jetsetting to Seattle for a meeting with Starbucks or waiting in the minivan for their kids to get out of school, and then pay more for when they do realize they have an hour to watch it on TV later?? It’s called a tape recorder and its free when you buy a $40 kitchen TV from Costso! My dad still tapes the Office for me on VHS and mails me the tape so I can watch it later.

I am not bashing Jobs. If he can get people to pay up for instant gratification, cash in on it! I just feel that my business knowledge is insync with his plan to take over the world; I’m on to him and his clever ads with cute MAC boys and white earpods. You cannot reel me in you conniving mogul, Jobs! Marry me?

Disclaimer: I am listening to podcasts everyday on my iPod at work, am thinking about upgrading to the Pod video, have convinced my sister to get a Mac for college next year, am pricing out getting an iBook myself, and the iPhone commercials give me butterflies.

Confessions and a new boyfriend

Blockbuster online, whom I feel like I am in a relationship with, has found this inconspicuous way of revealing the guilty acts of Friday night relaxers. Everyone has those few nights each month where they stay in and enjoy some alone time with their favorite actor, a package of Pepperidge Farm snacks, and a bottle of wine. I covet these nights in which I can, without shame or explanation needed, watch those movies that you will deny your interest in with the fervor of Judas. You know what movies I’m talking about. The new Eddie Murphy fat suit movie, Jackass 2, John Tucker Must Die. I know with confidence that Zoey will not tell my dirty little secret that I watched She’s the Man to anyone except her little pink pompom toys or the monster under the couch that she continuously meows at. There are some movies that are so horrible that you won’t even rent them from the store in fear of the weighing judgment that will rain down on you from the Blockbuster employee as you attempt to avoid eye contact while renting Raise your Voice. Then someone introduces you to BB online, and its love at first sight. All the movie you could want and you don’t even have to leave the house in your oversized Myrtle Beach crew neck sweatshirt.

But as I was filling up my query today with more movies for my new boyfriend (we’ll call him Sam) to mail to me, I discovered that Sam was telling my secrets. American’s secrets. There, right under the new releases; Top 100 online rentals. I click. There are the typical Oscar winners at the top as everyone attempts to gobble up what the Academy says is the best. But as I scroll I see the first of the unknowing victims. Position #8: Click. #13 Fun with Dick and Jane #18 the longest yard #24 RV. There they were, let lose over the blackmail powers of the Internet; America’s guilty pleasures (which, apparently, includes fantasies of Adam Sandler, Jim Carey, and Robin Williams). I have been betrayed by the one I love. But, as all relationships go, there is the grace period. Luck for Sam, we have only been seeing each other for a few weeks and have yet to get serious. I let It slide as a brink in judgment on the part of BB management. Or maybe Sam just wants me to see that I am not alone; there are others with the same mindless interest in bad movies as me. And, with that, I add Just Friends to my query.

Batshit crazy

I would like to preface this post with a post from my favorite fug girls (from that link Go Fug Yourself, which if you have not already visited, this will show you how ingenious these girls are) http://gofugyourself.typepad.com/go_fug_yourself/2006/04/mission_infugga.html Its from last year, but I get so desperately bored at work sometimes that I go into the archives and see what celebs they were bashing a year ago.

With that intro, I would like to touch on craziness. Insanity. I had an epiphany last night. I got home from work, elated that my blockbuster online movie had yet to let me down, being oh so attentive of my need for a new movie each night, waiting patiently for me in my mialbox. Tonight was an independent film called “Secretary” with Maggie Gyllenhaal (whom I adore after seeing Mona Lisa(s) Smile(s) – no idea which one it is- the female version of Dead Poet’s Society, aside from her sometimes lack of bra-wearing and being totally unable to spell her last name without looking on imdb). I was excited because I had just seen her in Stranger than Fiction and rediscovered my adoration of her normality and spunk.

This movie fell, I did not realize, into the “crazy person” genre. This, about a girl that enjoys cutting herself and, after she gets out of the loony bin, falls in love with the lawyer she works for because he spanks her and realizes her love of “roughness” (we’ll leave it at that), along with a movie I had seen recently of a retrospect on the woman who shot Andy Warhol who happens to be a crazy feminist who believes she has a tracking device in her no-no and ends up in the loony bin.

After watching both of these movies, I started to question my own sanity. If Valerie (Andy Warhol attempted-murderess) was walk around NYC and hanging out in the Factory for years before being committed, and Lee (S&M; secretary) could be any number of receptionists in law offices across the US, how do I know I’m not crazy? Nobody knows what I do in my apartment. Suddenly, the little obsessions I get from fashion magazines, to pasta for dinner every night, from Andy Warhol, to searching for new music, from facebook, to the ever-growing collage on my wall all seemed like these uncontrollable, unexplainable actions in my head. I was driving myself mad. Then I realized that these were obviously very well done movies if they actually convinced their audience that they themselves are insane, relating to the main characters, getting inside their head. After breathing a sigh of relief for not having to call my parents from the psych ward of the Cleveland Clinic, I was in awe over these directors talent. I don’t know whether to love them or hate them.

I Bleed Green

Green is the new pink this March. Amongst other things, Green grass when the snow finally melted for that always-exciting-and-frustrating mid-winter meltdown before we are hit with the inevitable April snowstorm (God love the Midwest weather), green beer as I finally escape to the sweet atmosphere of the bars at 6am for an East Lansing St Patrick’s Day (A city that will forever be green), and green in the papers as Hollywood makes the environment fashionable.

I have heard the monologues given by my pure-intentioned hippie boyfriend (dear God even I’m accessorizing with my green beloved) about how our consumption is going to lead to the complete breakdown of the circle of life, about the money saving and energy saving natural resources that are will NOT run out by 2050, about the ill-intentioned corporations. So this stuff has been shuffling around my brain for a few years, but I woke up one morning and realized that it was everywhere. I wasn’t just hearing from him anymore, I was hearing it from the NYTimes (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/business/businessspecial2/07jobs.html?ref=businessspecial2), from Silicon Valley (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/14/technology/14valley.html?hp), from Al Gore (http://www.aninconvenienttruth.co.uk/).

I think it’s fabulous that issues are becoming trendy. It’s the one follower-fueled trend that could be positive, not leading girls into non-carb-sugar-calories-fat-food diets or convincing men to wear pink. Isn’t the best way to get people to become more aware of waste and environmental alternatives in their life that to put in the mouth of their fave celeb, or making exaggerated movie commentaries about the meltdown of our ozone (Midwest weather…hmm…). It works for every other stylish lifestyle that people follow when told by Tyra Banks that it is fierce. The AIDS epidemic has been going on for countless years, yet, before Bono and the Gap took hold of the issue, it was helped by a niche group of passionate people. But I’m not going to rip on red Razr phones or Bradgelina when, because of their exploitation of the issue, there are more people aware and helping the cause. More is always better, regardless of by how much. So whoever decided that they would blow up environmental issues over the brainwaves of the public (It was probably Steve Jobs in some twisted path, because he can infiltrate the American lifestyle in a way that I would give my business degree to understand.) is a genius. Because, if small, it may be working. Corporations eager to cash in on this marketing persona are actually working on changing processes to eliminate more pollution, develop 100% natural clothing lines (http://www.americanapparelorganics.com/), rock ‘n rollers are reeling in the music elite crowds to recycle(http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/fashion/15reverb.html), and party planners creating the au natural wedding (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/fashion/11green.html?ex=1174017600&en;=00750a103573dfaf&ei;=5070) I am full of useful links today. So I tip my hat to the Hollywood trend-setter that saw the real beauty in their power.

*I do also realize that it could be that the NYTimes is just very into the green thing and, being that it is my main source of news (asside from the occational Wall Street Jouranl article my dad sends me about what amazing thing Steve Jobs is doing in order to fuel my obsession with him), I am simply not expanding beyond their range of worldly coverage. I will attempt to get my hands on some different sources to expand my media library

Spring Break?

Today, The ann st conquitadors jumped on a plane to add a little more chaos to Acapulco. Today Doc began his 20 hour drive for a bar crawl of the Colorado Rockies (again). Today I woke up in my Apartment in Cleveland. It’s going to be a long week…..