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Painting Party

What does this all mean? Warning signs of things to come at the Renegade Craft Fair, June 22-23rd.

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Last Halloween was a strange one. With everyone still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, people suffered desperate cabin fever while not being able to really go anywhere. Many events had been planned, including several all-cover shows at local music venues, but most places were shut down, and no one was sure if any events were still on. In some places the power still wasn’t on.

Several friends were slated to play back-to-back all-cover shows, first at Glasslands, then around the corner at Death By Audio. For the unfamiliar, all-cover Halloween shows are a delightful recent tradition, whereby all bands playing are strictly covering another well-known band’s songs, usually dressed up as & behaving like that band. The Misfits are a wildly popular choice here, though most can’t get the Lodi accent right. My friends were playing as…I’m not actually sure what name they went under that night, but they were a Go-Gos cover band and batted around The Go-Guys, Go-Guhs and We Got The Meat(ewwww). Other Glassland bands covered The Cramps, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, and oddly, Witchfinder General (didn’t think they were popular enough to warrant a cover band, but then life can be full of pleasant surprises). It was a crammed roster full of bands. Death By Audio had a showcase of just 4 bands doing full sets of songs, including a gender-switched Joy Division that worked despite initial doubts about female vocals hitting the low range (and unfortunately she couldn’t resist wearing a noose tie, which was expected but still tacky), and a MOST excellent Ramones who got EVERYTHING right, including a) announcing ‘Thanks, we’re The Ramones’ between every song, b) Dee-Dee in a half-shirt, c) no one making eye contact with any other member but glaring straight ahead. Genius. Both shows became insanely packed once word got out they were happening, and to Brooklyn’s credit, 95% of attendees had decent costumes (and no, a lone mask or glitter bowler hat does not a costume make. Fake cat ears + tail with a sexy dress is also debatable as to whether it’s a costume or a cry for help).

The shows went well, everyone had a damn fine Halloween with plenty of treats to make up for Nature’s vicious trick, and that seemed to be that. But having practiced all those songs for so long it seemed a shame not to do anything with it. So my friends went ahead and released a full cassette, available here. And then they had a bunch of footage left over from the photo shoot for the cassette, and it seemed a shame not to do anything with it, which is how I ended up editing a music video out of it for them.

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Huzzah! I can officially say what the hell I’ve been up to the last 6 months – my extraordinarily time-consuming project is part of the upcoming ‘Small Stories‘ exhibition opening June 23rd in Brooklyn.

From curator Joetta Maue:
“Small Stories is an exhibit which will celebrate the small moments in life. We are looking for work that tells the stories of the everyday; this can be in a literal or abstract way. Perhaps you make work about the banal, from the detritus of every day life, mapping your daily existence, or from the everyday relationships we surround ourselves with or desire too.”

Banal? Everyday? Small moments?! I was in the midst of a project enormous in scope and triviality, just at the point of realizing the full amount of physical effort needed to make this 2-year-old idea come fully into existence, when I saw the call for submissions. Part mea-culpa, part endurance test, submitting it to the show was the kick needed to finish it. I have been working on nothing else for the last few months, and it has slowly dawned on me that the sheer time investment is probably why no one else attempted anything similar in scale.

If I seem cryptic about my entry it’s intentional- I’d love for everyone to come out and see this bad boy in person, if only to marvel at its utter pointlessness. That’s not a knock- all art is pointless; were it functional, it would be craft. But I digress. The show information’s below, and I, THE ARTIST, will be there in person from 6 to whenever I feel like knocking off and heading to Zombie Hut, the nearby Tiki Bar offering bottomless bowls of Goldfish crackers and Boggle (oh, sweet refuge!). So come on down! Bring the kids! Drag your roommate! Tell your friends!

small stories
an exhibition of fiber work

Opening Saturday June 23, 2012, 6-9pm
On view June 20 – July 22, 2012

at the Urban Alchemist Design Collective
343 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Featuring work by:
Neta Amir, Sarah Bahr, Kristy Bishop, Millicent Bradleigh, Danielle Burgos, Nathan Carnes, Marcy Chevali, Marie France Cournoyer, Julie Anne Danylewich, Jane Waggoner Deschner, Autumn-Grace Dougherty, Ann Duggan, Di Ellis,Kelly Fleek, Veronica Fuentes, Peg Grady, Eileen Hoffman, Jane Lee Horton, Jan Johnson, Susan Lenz, Skid Lo, Sanna Majander, Anny Mefford, Laura Mongiovi, Nicole Monjeau, Ruth Moskell, Meg Pierce, Astrid Philipps, Patricia Reis, Laura Reyes, Lora Rocke, Dawn Rogal, Rachel Rose, Bonnie Sennott, Beverly Y. Smith, Ruth Tabancay, Katya Usvitsky, Ansie Vanderwalt, Leni Levenson Wiener

Info on space here.
Info on curator and exhibition here.

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Walking down Marcus Garvey boulevard, I was surprised to come across what for all the world looked like a giant castle. It’s not exactly what you’d expect to see in the midst of faded brownstones and tiny bodegas.
Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle
A bit of research revealed the building, currently called the Pamoja House, is an armory built in 1922 currently serving as a homeless shelter and temporary home for the Black Veterans for Social Change.

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What was supposed to be a brief jaunt turned into an epic walk past the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a series of partially refurbished, mostly abandoned buildings once a center of shipbuilding, down to Dumbo, the annoyingly-acronymed area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Actually that’s not quite correct; as the acronym puts it, Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. See How Utterly Twee Usurious Persons Rain Errors About Local Topography Over Random Spots.

I came across this delightful Citroen truck and began snapping pictures, only to have an old man wearing naught but a stained tank top pop his head out and start shouting ‘what kind of car is that?’ to me.

Citroen side

Citroen front

Well, as it says in giant blue letters on the side ‘Citroen’, and I am mildly familiar with that brand of vehicle, I am going to guess it’s a Citroen, sir. He then kept yelling I had to take a photo of the registration on the front. I’m not sure why, but here you go:
Citroen close up on demand

I then quickly scuttled around the corner as he yelled for me to come back and powerwalked the next couple blocks until coming across this:

Blooooooooood
Yep, blood! Not sure from what or why, but as numerous opportunities were missed this winter to snap a shot of frozen bloodsicles hanging from the local ‘live chicken’ dumpster, this seemed an excellent opportunity to make up for the loss. Blooooooood.

Strong like Bull
Just before the metal steroid bull, a group of cartoonishly buff guys worked out on what looked like wood and metal torture racks in the park. Some of the racks are in the background.

Though there is a section of the Navy Yards refurbished and filled with modern offices, the majority of it looks like this- slowly decaying shells of buildings being reclaimed by vines.
Brooklyn Naval Yard abandoned house

Brooklyn Naval Yard abandoned house

Even just before entering the fancy new section (which had a guard post in front of it), these crumbling towers stood sentinel. The guard, presumably lacking anything better to do, kept poking his head out and glaring like I wore a shirt that said ‘TALIBAN PHOTOGRAPHER’ on it.

Brooklyn Naval Yard tower

Brooklyn Naval Yard subterranean hole

Further along, towards (sigh)Dumbo, the neighborhood became very quaint, more like New Hope, PA (hippie central meets Colonial Williamsburg) than downtown Brooklyn. A vast electric plant sat at the water’s edge looking like Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album cover.
Like 'Animals' without the floating pig balloon.

I’m also glad to see they time travel responsibly.
Time Loss Accident

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