Archive for the ‘art’ Category

#reverb10 six: make

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

A day late, and what of it?

(I’m participating in Reverb 10. You can, too!)

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made was dinner for twenty.

I used to self-identify as a person who makes decent-to-great food and feeds it to her friends and loved ones. My most magical, quietly vibrant self manifests in the kitchen.

During and following my excruciatingly protracted divorce, cooking became difficult. Everything was difficult, but cooking was the most surprising—and the most frustrating. I had lost the life that had been there just a moment ago, and with it my most reliable (up to that point) inanimate tool for connecting with the world.

Been getting back to it slowly, lurching a bit back and forth. Still, I go through dry spells. A recent one annoyed me so much that I immediately made plans to cook dinner for twenty.

Honestly, I wish I could afford to do this more often. It was SO MUCH FUN. I spent several days shopping (in like five different places), and a full evening and following day cooking. It was a mezze sort of evening — I made two different bean dips, and a beet something-or-other, and lamb kabobs served as individual meat pieces, and there had to have been something with eggplant. I don’t even remember what else. (Were you there? What did you eat?)

What I took away from it was the laughter and warmth. They did that, some people I love came over and filled the place with light, and all I had to do was have a good time in the kitchen. Everybody wins.

As for something I’d like to make if I only had (made) the time… I’d love to do cross-stitch again. Something gorgeous and symbolic and pagan and shaded.

(Oh! A deviled duck egg salad! As good as deviled eggs, but salad.)

vignette

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

I’m in New York this weekend, visiting with family. Tesher is ten this year, lanky and giggly and energetic and sometimes a little… loud. You know, a ten year old. He loves BB guns, and also loves making art — painting and drawing are his favorites — and he’s getting to be pretty good at it.

Tonight we watched the first Matrix movie. He’d never seen any of them. His mind: blown, of course.

Got to the scene wherein Trinity asks Tank to load her up with the knowledge she needs to fly a particular model of helicopter. Tesher, by this point, is bouncing up and down and cheering. He’s agape at the implications of this one, though. An the first thing he says, imagining himself in the midst of the action, is: “‘I want to paint like Matisse!’ — boom!!!”

Yes, kid. You are, in fact, awesome.

darker and curiouser

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

A few weeks ago, due to a fantastic coincidence of events and a generous friend willing to share the experience, I saw Kate Bornstein perform. She’s a force of nature, she is. She was standing before us, all 75 or so audience members, revealing to us bits of her head and heart with her own words. She used Keynote freely, showed us slide shows of family pictures, talked about her parents separately and together. These days his mom thinks he’s a nice girl.

She talked about living in the interstices of definition, defying it and longing for it or something similar, recognition of what she is, at any rate. “Look at me,” she half-invited, half-acknowledged. “I’m not a woman.” Then smirked, “I’m not a man, either.”

I mean, I’ve known for a long time that gender is a continuum, but I’d never been in the presence of someone so fluid, so grounded, so kind and generous and loving after having been through a hell of haze and doubts and danger — because we beat and kill and damage transgendered people, because we fear the absence of neat little boxes — that I’ll only ever imagine.

The end of her evening’s performance took me by surprise, and I stood there with Michel, shell-shocked, at words’ end. Later we talked with Kate for a few minutes, and I must’ve articulated something or other well, because she asked me if I was a writer. The question took me aback, and I spent most of the rest of the evening composing this post in my head, but that was weeks ago and is lost to time. Now I dust off dim recollections to make them shiny again for a moment.

This is why I don’t think of myself as a writer: to me, that identification comes with a need to write, and what I have is the occasional need to cook.

Been cooking… some. In the last month I’ve made kickass chocolate pudding (for the first time ever; what took me so long?), water chestnuts wrapped in bacon (thank you, fellow party goer, for the idea), bacon wrapped asiago stuffed dates (ditto), and a bunch of unremarkable meals, some involving bacon. I need a challenge involving reasonably priced ingredients.

Thanksgiving, though, oh! It was perfect. I dislike the holiday, I think it puts gratitude in bad historical company, but this year it was exactly right. Four of us, just my brother, sister IL, nephew and me. (Mom opted to stay in MA, as she and her partner were taking off for warmer places that weekend.)

We had no dinner table. We had things in the oven and other things on the grill, and no timing congruency at all. We ate food as it got done, cooked with wine glasses in hand and chatted. All evening. Then we spent most of the rest of the weekend sitting by the fire with tasty drinks, mustard seeds, mortars and pestles, other fiddly food tasks such as scraping out a dozen roasted squashes, and ice cream. It was pretty much my idea of idyll.


Emily and Jesse are settling in, and the house is homey. Emily’s cat Destroyer of Worlds (Mundi, for short) is getting comfortable despite Nochka’s grumpy growling. Life is re-acquiring a rhythm at SCD.

Work is the kind of chaos that makes you throw your hands up in the air and go with it.

Winter is undeniably here, in my ribcage. Copious amounts of vitamin D help a surprising amount, but winter still sucks.

Still, Equinox (wedding anniversary) is past, and November 17 (the day my marriage was pronounced dead) is gone, and we’re fumbling towards Solstice. Strange, that in only two weeks the days will start growing again. Autumn lasted so long that wintry weather is really only just beginning. The time of long sleep, warm blankets and tiny LEDs is upon us.

you’re always near

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Someone pointed me at this video of a Ukrainian sand artist. She tells a haunting story in a bit over eight minutes, with sand and stunning talent and sensitivity.

The radio broadcast near the beginning is a famous one; it was Moscow’s announcement to the Soviet people that Nazi Germany’s armed forces had attacked our borders, and that we were at war. The song that follows was a mobilizing anthem that still stops me in my tracks. It’s not all about military anthems, though; the soundtrack is beautiful, including even a bit by Apocalyptica.

Kseniya Simonova tells it like it was.

you know what’s awesome?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Besides my nephew, about whom later.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, coming [to DVD] in October, directed by Edward James Olmos, is awesome. Trailer here.

I may have to buy my first DVD in many years.

i am water

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

This video—not made by me—is about how I feel when I’m around water. Its power, maybe.

In case it’s not clear, this is a helicopter search-and-rescue training exercise. Read more about the video here.


Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Aaron Sorkin is a god second only to Joss Whedon.

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Although I’m thinking Joss is getting a run for his title.

New York Times’ Maureen Dowd contacted Sorkin to find out what happened when Obama met The West Wing‘s Democratic ex-President Jed Bartlet. Here’s what happened. (And here’s the LiveJournal backup link if you don’t have a NYTimes online account, and/or if NYTimes locks this thing down later.)

N.B., for the three people in the world who don’t know: The West Wing was fiction. So is President Bartlet. A shame, really.

1-31-07: never forget

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Remember the Mooninite scare of last year? Well, Zebbler has put together a news-collage video to help you re-live the bad old days. Check it out, he says, before the news networks make him take it down:


01-31-07 Never Forget (aka the Great Boston Bomb Scare) from Zebbler on Vimeo.

And don’t forget to visit Zebbler’s site and Sean’s site.

Love you, guys. Keep making blinky shiny love art. And to the rest of you: has anything changed, do you think, in our collective attitude in the last year and a half?

oh holy gods yes.

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Some helpful soul transcribed what-all Joe Cocker was singing at Woodstock. Helpful cat is helpful!

Don’t be drinking anything when you watch this, and oh, do watch it. Four-ish minutes.

and the children let go their balloons and flew away

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

[I started writing this yesterday but decided to sleep before finishing. A wise choice.]

It’s not even 10pm, and I’m already in bed in pursuit of enough sleep. A couple of days ago Mark and I talked about the concept of enough, for the most part agreeing that it was not a useful measure. When does the lovingest cat in the world (who happens to live with Mark) get enough love? What is enough contentment? How much time on the playa is enough? And so on. Since that conversation I’ve thought of two things to which I can usefully apply the modifier enough: food and sleep. My body definitely has a range of “enough” when it comes to nutrition, and lately I’m glad to say I’ve mostly stayed in that range. Likewise with sleep. Too much sleep, which makes me logy, happily doesn’t happen often. But before the trip I was underslept for weeks with only occasional breaks, and every such period takes a heavier toll than the one before it. One of the unmistakable signs of aging.

(Yes, I know I’m only 31. I said aging, not getting old, and this isn’t even a complaint: I’m just fascinated with the changes my body is patently undergoing.)

I got a surprisingly decent amount of sleep at Burning Man. The noise doesn’t bother my lucky brain, which can wander off into dreamland under most any conditions if it’s tired enough. And the weather between the Monday and Saturday dust storms was so mild that the tents didn’t get stifling until well after 9! Both of the times I’ve been to the playa before, the beating sun made it difficult to stay in the tents around 7:30.

Tuesday night was a night for wandering, though. I went out with some of my campmates, maybe a group of eight? We were – oh wait, do you know what the city looks like? Here, take a look at the map – we were camped at almost-9 o’clock and A, riiight around the round 9:00 Plaza. We went straight across the playa, past the Man, and to 3:00; that alone is a 5400-foot walk right there, just over a mile. We then proceeded to walk the diameter of the Esplanade all the way around clockwise, back to 9:00. There were sparkly and shiny things everywhere; many of those things were faces. We saw … actually, I don’t remember what-all we saw. I remember the feeling of it, but not the camps and installations themselves. Campmates, help in comments? :)

Around 8:30 I broke off with my friends and walked into a full-on techno-y disco, in an attempt to find Sean. Failed miserably at that, but did find two other friends – Rob and Sara(h?) – who had both made these gorgeous faux-fur coats rippling all over with LEDs sewn into them. Gorgeous.

Walked back into camp, recouped and realized that my evening was very much not over. So I got to wander the playa for a couple of hours with Dan. This was fantastic: Dan lives in San Francisco, and I don’t get to see him a whole lot; and the little time we’ve actually spent together is somehow always graced with an ease that I love. Plus, he has an incredible eye for visual composition.

We wandered through a small forest of skis, which surrounded a little meditation space with benches made of snowboards: a beautiful memorial to a skiing-and-snowboarding dude by his friends. And we found the balloons!

The balloons were surreal. There were three huge strings of them hanging more or less vertically in the air, lit up (it was nighttime, after all) – blue, green and red. The playa messes with your sense of geographical perspective at the best of times, and at night, slightly sleep deprived and giddy and not entirely sober, with all those lights around – well, we couldn’t really tell where the balloon strings met the earth. But toward them we went, and they turned out to not be very far away. Lucky us!

They were helium-filled balloons affixed to heavy-gauge kite string, with an LED taped to a small battery affixed under each balloon. They were twelve feet apart, and each string had hundreds of balloons, and more were being put on as we watched. They were so, so high up in the air – but you could catch the string and sort of walk it down with your hands; which is what people did, and we did too, and Dan even lay on the ground with some other folk who were passing them fire-brigade-style and laughing as though they’d been inhaling that helium. (They weren’t. It was just that fun.)

Why balloons, and why did we find them so fun, hanging out in the sky like that, 500 feet up in the air? For no better reason than people find horse races or museums or monster truck rallies or hiking in the woods fun. It was art we could play with. It was some of the best time I had on the playa this year.


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