October 31, 2008

happy hallowe'en (3 more sleeps)

Just doing some laundry and getting ready for tomorrow's big weenie roast extravaganza.

(hand, j.williams, 2005)

October 30, 2008

hitting home

November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month. If you think violence isn't something that affects you or anyone you know - think again. Chances are, it already has.

(barbie bakes a cake, J.Williams, 2005)

October 28, 2008

duane michals: putting fartsters on notice since 1932

I have a bit of an obsession with the notion and experience of memory (is a memory something you have or something you've lost?) There are some moments I hold so dear that I wish I could wipe clean my memory if only to be able to have the chance to go back and experience them again for the first time. The first time I saw Han Solo on the big screen. The view from our tent that first morning at Galla Camp in Kenya. The first time I saw a Duane Michals photograph, specifically, this series of photographs, "chance encounter".

Who can say what it is that causes that jolt of electricity and recognition when you connect with a person, place or idea on such a cellular, cosmic level. Whatever it is, Duane Michals' work does it for me.

Madame Schrodinger's cat:

Or this one: "No American has the right to impose his private morality on any other American."

Or this one from his recent book, a biting satire "how photography lost its virginity on the way to the bank" a send up of some of the biggest photography art stars going (many of whom I really quite like). Who is Sidney Sherman?

The accompanying text: "Sidney paints his fingernails shocking pink a brilliantly audacious gesture that exposes the dis-corraborative gender bias of Revlon's vacuity, while trenchantly confirming lipstick as a phallic ploy of alpha males vis-a-vis Derrida's strategies of dis-corraboration."

His tattle-tales from the land of fauxtography includes such gems as:
  • Never trust any photograph so large it can only fit inside a museum;
  • The announced demise of the decisive moment is premature; and
  • Museums should never exhibit photographs of visitors looking at art in museums to visitors who are looking at art in museums.
Beware, he warns, of fartsters (aka those who confuse fashion with art). Words of wisdom indeed.

October 27, 2008

holy sh*t

As the Great Bathroom Renovation Project enters its second year, I can at last check toilet paper holder off my list. praise the lord (and designer Mischa Vos).

I heart coconuts

Today's favourite things posting goes to Coconut Records and this catchy little ditty:

Interesting how so many favourite things pathways lead back to Jason Schwartzman...

October 26, 2008

One week

With just a week to go til we make the jump across the pond, I've just today got cause to begin stressing over the contents of my suitcase. First, I received a dispatch from a friend in who's currently in Paris (after presenting to the UN in Geneva no less) detailing the stylishness of that city's denizens. Then I stumbled upon this site devoted to Copenhagen street style. And this one for Berlin. And this one for Amsterdam.

Factor in the 20 kilo weight restriction imposed by SAS and another email received today from a friend visiting Scotland who advises warm weather gear and wellies, and the dilemma really takes hold.

October 25, 2008

beware of conservationist weirdos

There's been an important voice missing in the key issues discussions leading up to the US election. Try as they might, the liberal elitists in the mainstream media with their gotcha journalism can silence him no more. I bring you Sam the Eagle.

October 24, 2008

something new under the sun


Today was a good day. After months of hesitation and false starts, I finally took the difficult first step towards making the transition between the images I've been seeing in my mind and the ones I want to bring to life. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

I also made a happy discovery - these uber groovy Mad Men illustrations by nobodysweetheart. With the season finale looming large this coming Sunday, I hope she keeps these little dittys coming to see us through the long wait til season 3. More on my love of all things Mad Men in another post.

October 23, 2008

this little litebook of mine

I have a strict zero tolerance policy for cutesy misspellings - with this one exception. 'Tis the season once again to break out the SAD light. And the wine. And the hallowe'en mini chocolate bars. Let's just hope the power outages are kept to a minimum over the next 7 months.

October 18, 2008

inspired to aspire?

Today's book of the month club pick was inspired by a recent forced detour up to Vinyl Village. Now I know that aesthetics and design preferences are subjective things. And that because we live in the north building supplies are hard to come by and our cold climes set the terms in many regards yada yada yada but surely there's a better way.

Case in point - the Case Study House program that began in post-war US as a challenge to designers and architects of the day (think Eames, Killingsworth, Neutra, Saarinen) to come up with thoughtful, efficient and inexpensive model homes to meet the growing residential housing demands of the day.

Ok, ok, granted some of the designs like the famous #22 are pure fantasy (for an excellent article about the making of this iconic Julius Shulman photo check this out) and there's a reason why california modern hasn't caught on in say, Wisconsin or Saskatchewan or the Yukon for that matter, but they do point to the possibility of a different way.

Elizabeth Smith's survey of the CSH program, at 440 pages complete with blueprints and sumptuous photography, is a lovely reminder of a time in (north) american history when affordable, thoughtful design and family-friendly were not considered mutually exclusive concepts.

For our own impending addition,
I've got my heart set on something along the lines of Charles and Ray's #8 - we made a special trip to the pacific palisades last year to check it out in person.

Now my friend and (hopefully) builder-to-be tells me that as soon as I get a load of the estimates, I'll be singing a different tune, but wouldn't it be great if our local architects and builders would be inspired to aspire to efficient, cost-considerate homes that do our surroundings and ourselves proud?

Is it asking too much not to have to stare at a wall of identical vinyl clad monsters with protruding garages and, hey here's a thought, maybe even leave behind a tree or two?

October 17, 2008

live at the pumpehuset

Warning: friends and family who are sick of hearing me talk about the swell season - read no further. It's no secret I have a bit of a thing for these two. We got tickets to see Martha Wainwright at the Regency Center in San Francisco last year and were a little annoyed to see she was opening for this band called the Swell Season. I mean Martha Wainwright as an opening act? (apparently Martha does have less of a following in SF than here in Canada - I still remember her kicking at her amp and shouting into the mike um excuuuuse me? is my playing interfering with your f@$%ing talking?)

Anyhoo, so after Martha does her thing, out comes this dorky irish guy with a beat up guitar and a waify little euro-hippy chick and the crowd goes wild. They blow the roof of the place. We've been hooked ever since.

You've probably seen their little indie flick, Once or maybe seen them perform and win for this song at the Oscars. Boomp3.com

In a few short weeks we'll be following them to Copenhagen to see their show at the Pumpehuset. At least I think we got tickets, my danish is pretty abysmal.

tom on my mind

I've been working away in my studio on a new body of work that's based in equal measure on riverside grocery store and the marvellous tom robbins. how you may ask, do the two relate? Well friends, if you have to ask, then you haven't yet got your hands on the right libretto. You'll just have to wait until January at the yukon arts centre to find out.

In preparation for the series I've been re-reading a number of Tom's classics and am struck by how relevant his writing remains "in these troubled times". First there's Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas set during the calamitous aftermath of a stock market crash. Then, Skinny Legs and All, where Tom waxes poetic on art, the hidden life of inanimates and the rising threat of evangelical christianity (bring on the rapture y'all yee haw). I've just moved on to Jitterbug Perfume, a time bending tome about our collective obsession with immortality, the origins of scent and the death of the mystic at the hands of organized religion.

here are a few lines from the opening paragraphs:

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot.The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes."

In other news, I've been experiencing an ungodly craving for borscht of late.

October 15, 2008

so much for knowing better

Who was it (maya angelou, oprah, uma?) who said "when you know better, you do better." Come on Canadians - we should have done better. If not for ourselves than for the truffula trees and the swamy swans and the brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits.

Shame on us.

October 8, 2008

from bauhaus to our house

While I am decidedly not an architect, I do have fantasies of playing like one. The Villa Sibi at $800 is definitely not the kind of doll house you'd let the kiddies get their hands on. Much as I dream of owning it, this little Bauhaus number is likely destined to stay forever on my wish list. If only I knew a furniture maker with a predilection for modernist design...

October 6, 2008

it's 5 o'clock somewhere

Can't wait to see Ron Sexsmith at the Yukon Arts Centre tonight. In honour of his visit, a little pre-show libation seems in order.


Brandy Alexander
1 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Brown Creme de Cacao
2 oz. Cream

Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.Top with Nutmeg.

October 5, 2008

10 commandments of decorating

Text taken from the (now defunct) Nest Magazine a quarterly of interior & landscape design, art and architecture. Issue #24 was themed "decorating for the Christian home". I can't express how much I miss this magazine. Forget about HGTV - these 10 rules are all you need, particularly #7.

I. Thou shalt not put one color before another.

II. Thou shalt not bow down before any color, except thou worship each of them, even unto tan and brown; there is not one that will not sing, in its rightful ordination. All else being prejudice, for which of the colors that the Lord thy God hath made shall be called butt ugly?

III. Do not consider thyself an artist: For the Lord thy God hath made men according to their ilk. That be makers of art, according to their ilk, shall be served by those that are decorators, according to their ilk. The one shall paint, and the other shall frame that which was painted, even for its sake. And if a decorator call himself artist, he shall surely die; but if any artist goeth by the other’s name, I say let him watch out.

IV. That the Lord thy God made the Sun to be the greater and the Moon the lesser light, and hath caused night to follow day, of that shall ye be mindful in lighting thy rooms. Let night bring forth pooled lamplight and pits of darkness where day doth gladden in every part. Verily, he who kindles the hearth to throw fleeting shadow is blessed in my sight, whereas whoever installeth recess├Ęd lighting has committed an abomination.

V. Thy room shall be like unto a box. Trifle not with straight walls and right angles, for the Lord thy God hath made them so. A fool who thwarts my will with juggling curves shall draw the curtain of his bed wracked with boredom and waken with a yawn.

VI. Honor thy edges. Consider the marble floor, yea, even linoleum tiles and the least of them that are trodden: unto each is given a figure, and these shall find their thoughtful end is given a figure, and these shall find their thoughtful end and margin. Whoever neglects his wallpaper at its edges has committed an abomination.

VII. He who clothes not his decorating in humor shall surely die, saith the Lord.

VIII. He who forsaketh comfort, who loveth the undressed stool and not the cushion, shall be parboiled, flayed, and dropped in a briar patch, and shall surely die.

IX. Covet not that which thou needest not; let each thing thou hast account itself or be no more present. To mirror thy walls, making increase of every thing, is an abomination, but whoever mirrors his ceiling commits an abomination above the rest: Nor should such a one trust in his reflected image, for it will not yield refuge, on the day of reckoning.

X. This above all else: delight in the look of thy facing as thou lovest thine own self, looking back from polished bronze. For if the finger of thine eye cannot tell calfskin from onyx, or silk from the bristles of a she ass, verily thou art no decorator.

October 4, 2008

design matters: in search of the perfect tumbler

For some time now, I've been in search of the perfect all-purpose tumbler to replace our odds and sods assortment of glassware. I particularly dislike wine glasses, their clumsy stems & clunky bases - don't get me started on the ridiculously huge ones (yes opimium society, I'm aware they serve a purpose but to me they're bloated and unseemly). I've been not so secretly coveting my friend Jocylyn's single, perfect vintage tumbler (a sally anne find) but was unable to find my own.

The search came to an end last month when I stumbled upon a supplier of vintage deadstock restaurant ware on a trip outside. Dozens upon dozens of never used dusty, but perfect Duralex glasses just sitting there in their original packaging. Designed in France in the 1930's duralex glass used a revolutionary "toughening" process that makes their tumblers some 5 times stronger than regular glasses and able to withstand hot temperatures to boot. The picardie - aka the classic french bistro glass - is the most beloved duralex design among people who care about such things. (It's listed as #375 in the Phaidon 999 classic design objects series.) I picked up a few dozen basic tumblers and stackables (not picardies, but similar to picture) for $8 total. Who says good design needs to cost a fortune?

They're happily ensconced in the cupboard now, next to these quirky but less practical Revol "crumpled" porcelain cups we picked up a few years ago at the MOMA design store.

On to the next search.

October 3, 2008

ladies of the world

and friday's favourite things posting goes to.... (a special shout-out to Heather on this one).

October 2, 2008

"i used to be so into nihilism

. . . but now it all just seems so pointless."

I've had this one in my i-tunes for a while now but just came across the video on boob tube the other day. George Westerholm, witty and talented as he is, was the only celebrity to turn down my friend request during my short lived but oh so sweet (i'm talking to you Chris Isaak) MySpace phase last October.

October 1, 2008

a pram in the hall

I'm not afraid to say it. I loathe Anne Geddes. Well, her photographs anyway. This admission may have cost me a few potential life-long friends among my portrait photography classmates, 99% of whom cited her as their creative inspiration, but I'm ok with that. (Seriously, you'd have thought I copped to enticing cherubs to feast on my candy house so I could further fatten them up and eat them.)

There's an old and oft quoted expression in the art & literary worlds: "there is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall." Maybe it's true and maybe it isn't. I admit, there was a time when I lost more than a few hours sleep pondering it but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of today's favourite things posting.

Without further ado, a few of my favourites ranging from the horrifying to the hilarious to the sublime brought to us by Diane Arbus, Martin Parr, Simen Johan , Loretta Lux and Ruud van Empel.