Thursday, July 31, 2008

A few photos from Indianapolis.

First photo: Ah, the lovely flat lush plains of the midwest. Flew from NY to Georgia via Atlanta. (A crowded, crappy airport.)

Second photo: This is the former Beebe Compound at 7216 N. Lesley. I didn't want to spend too much time loitering suspiciously while snapping photos. But it's looks more or less like the home I lived in until I was eighteen. As I said last summer, it doesn't look like the new owner(s) have bothered to repaint the trim in the 25+ years since my dad slapped up that slate blue color. You can see the old basketball pole sticking up to the right of the car. It, too, is the same slate-y color. Those shrubs were neatly trimmed when I lived there and vines weren't choking the house either.

Third photo: these are the beech trees I grew up with. These two trees still play a large role in the mythology of my childhood. (Okay, maybe my childhood isn't worthy of a mythology necessarily...but there are a lot of items floating around in my brain.) I've tried to work them into drawings again and again but they never find a way to sit at ease on the paper. So. They still wait in line. The beechs are pathetically overgrown now. (They're scrawny at the top due to years of Tornado Alley storm damage.)

Fourth photo: a stone bench sitting on a property down the street from the Beebe Compound. In an effort to freak each other out, all the kids in my neighborhood clamied this was Frankenstein's grave. I don't think it worked. This is in the mythology pile as well.

Fifth photo: Last day I was in town I took a drive up north out in the country and through various small towns scattered north of Indianapolis. This gigantic white rooster stood outside a unmarked building. The red sign in the window says "All Humane Society Certificates..." so maybe it's a vet that specializes in inoculating huge poultry? In any case, this large fella is a fine cock indeed.

Tomorrow: photos from Chicago. (Maybe. I'm feeling lazy.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Afternoon in Kew Gardens/Forest Park, Queens. One stands mighty. One falls down.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Out of the studio and out of the apartment. Or trying to be anyway. I don't seem to have much to say these days. But in a good way.

Photos: sunset on the East River at the northern-most tip of Astoria. An Anish Kapoor sculpture in the Met.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I walk to work every morning along 36th Ave and I've noticed these huge poplars (I think) poking out of the courtyard of an apartment building. The rear (and mostly obscured) set of poplars rises a full 30 feet above the surrounding four-story building.  I ducked in the courtyard last night on the walk home last night and took this photo. I'm going to slip in another entrance tonight and see if I can't get a better photo.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Two sketches: one from tonight post-fireworks and another from a few weeks back.
The view from the studio window. This year the Macy's barges on the East River were moved south about a quarter of a mile. Instead of firing off in front of Long Island City they went off in front of Greenpoint.

I went with Steve, Teddy and others to Gantry Plaza State Park (yes, state park) on the river. Waaay too crowded from my tastes so I said goodbye on slipped away, fetched the bike from where it was parked, and dodged the cars and pedestrians over to the studio. Elevator wasn't running--of course--so up six flights of stairs to the studio, drop bag and helmet, then up two more floor to the roof. Lots of warning signs on the door: Don't go on the roof, Forbidden, Violators Will Be Prosecuted, Trespassers Will Be Tied Up With Piano Wire, etc. Ho hum. Back down to the studio and park myself on the couch in Teddy's studio. The fireworks started: the were only about 1/4 of a mile away and perfectly framed in the window. Perfect.

I particularly like the smiley faces. There is something slightly demented about them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This is Lefty. He was part of my first attempt at a Relaxing Weekend.

The show opened Thursday night. Openings are difficult for me. I'm a recluse most of the time. For weeks, my most social moments occur when I purchase beer at the deli near the studio. It was good, however, if a bit harrowing. A lot of grad school classmates, a few Chicago-to-New York transplants, one Hoosier, and a random scattering of other friends I've met while here. Dozens of splintered, unfinished conversations, lots of introductions and instantly forgotten names. The next morning, it felt like I'd been punched repeatedly in the neck and shoulders by an ogre. (NOT an ogre mage. Different.)

The day after the opening, I put in a half-day at the Cartography Concern then split for a train up to Tim and Cathy's place upstate. (When I hit Grand Central, I had terrible flashbacks of my Disney White Plains commute: staggering off the 6 and up the stairs to the grand concourse, wandering bleary-eyed down the platform to the 7:40 express.)

Anyway. Fighting aside the ghosts of White Plains, I got on the express to Poughkeepsie. Found myself a window seat (river side, of course) and just stared out the window for the entire trip. I'm always shocked at how long it takes to actually round the northern tip of Manhattan; the train crosses the Harlem River and then runs along the Bronx-side bank until the tracks hit the Hudson and then turns north. It was a humid day so the Palisades, the Tappan Zee, and all other distant landmarks were softened by a muggy haze. Nothing of import to note but there were a lot of fisherman along the shore of the Hudson.

Tucked in with a few albums for the ride up: Calexico's, Feast of Wire, Do Make Say Think's & Yet & Yet, and (hoo-boy) the Flash Gordon soundtrack by Queen. (Both Feast of Wire and & Yet & Yet are two of the few albums that I can play from start to finish without skipping past the filler tracks. There simply is no filler. The Beatles Revolver and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (yes, I just said that) (out loud) fit this category, as well as Miles's Kind of Blue, Japancake's Belmondo, Lightning Bolt's Wonderful Rainbow, Mulatu Astaqé's Ethiopiques Vol. 4, and (ditching the alternate takes) Wes Montgomery's Full House: Live at the Tsubo.)

(Did you get all that?)

Tim picked me up at the station in his pickup. Off to the store for limes, a twelve pack of Corona, and a bottle of Tanqueray. (Gin is refreshing in the hot weather.) Then back to the Clifford Estate to be met by Cathy and a very enthusiastic and slobbery Lefty (See above.) The afternoon was alternately spend sipping beer, napping and reading on the porch. A lot of birds up there--there was an opera of birdsong the entire time--and I didn't recognize many of them. Okay, I think I saw a weak-tea colored wren of some kind. But that's it. The rest were almost unremarkable: small, flitty, the pewter color of bare branches and the brown of dead leaves.

Early in the evening, Cathy made vegetarian risotto with asparagus and mushrooms from the Union Square farmer's market. In addition, a salad with greens from the garden. All delicious: the greens in particular had a whole range of delicately bitter tastes that I've never experienced in store-bought greens. Then--to stave off a night of two drunken jerkies--Cathy suggested we head into town to catch the 9:05 showing of Wall-E. Pixar movies are always good but they always get too sweet. Then home for homemade sour cherry pie. Fuck that was good.

Then bed. The lights in the living room went off. My bedroom became the main beacon for all of the night insects. The windows were open to let in the coolth and the bug sounds. As I read I saw a large moth park itself on the wall near the ceiling. Okay. The house is has always been a little buggy. I ignored it. Then I heard another throwing itself into the lampshade. I got out of bed and I swatted it. Then another moth battered the lampshade, and two more had landed near the first moth near the ceilling. And there was a cloud of wee bugs roiling around the bedside lamp. Then two more moths the size of crop dusters and a daddy longlegs that I could've rolled a soccer ball under. I get up and check the windows: one of the windows is missing a screen. Ah. Cranked close the unscreened window and began the massacre.

Up early and out for my traditional walk along the paths under the powerlines behind Tim and Cathy's property. I gotta say...this walk was a little unrewarding. I hadn't had any coffee, I was still groggy and had the wrong shoes and socks on for the walk: I was constantly stopping to pick the ticks out of my leg hair. Wildlife spotted was minimal: a few does, some frogs, and a tiny tiny toad the size of a grasshopper. (See extremely blurry photo. He's much smaller than ole froggy from last time here.) Afternoon was spent sipping gin and sodas, napping, reading, and downloading music from Tim's MacBook: Giant Sand, Alice Coltrane, M.I.A., Ornette Coleman, an Otis Redding boxset, etc.

Late afteroon: with the gin fumes (mine) slept off, we packed into the pickup for the drive back into the city. Strange weather: sunshine, then torrential downpour, then sunshine again. The wet roads steamed when the sun returned. Down the Taconic--we ran parallel to the Metro-North line to White Plains--over the Triborough Bridge, and back to the apartment. I promptly climbed the stairs and got to work drinking beer and playing Wii Mario Kart.

I was given a few venison steaks as a parting gift. Now I just have to figure out how to cook the muthas.