Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Morning Half-Life Blues

by Marge Piercy, born on this day, March 31 1936.

Girls buck the wind in the grooves toward work
in fuzzy coats promised to be warm as fur.
The shop windows snicker
flashing them hurrying over dresses they cannot afford:
you are not pretty enough, not pretty enough.

Blown with yesterday’s papers through the boiled coffee morning
we dream of the stop on the subway without a name
the door in the heart of the grove of skyscrapers,
that garden where we nestle to the teats of a furry world,
lie in mounds of peony eating grapes,
and need barter ourselves for nothing.
not by the hour, not by the pound, not by the skinful,
that party to which no one will give or sell us the key
though we have all thought briefly we found it
drunk or in bed.

Black girls with thin legs and high necks stalking like herons,
plump girls with blue legs and green eyelids and
strawberry breasts,
swept off to be frozen in fluorescent cubes,
the vacuum of your jobs sucks your brains dry
and fills you with the ooze of melted comics.
Living is later. This is your rented death.
You grasp at hard commodities and vague lusts
to make up, to pay for each day
which opens like a can and is empty, and then another,
afternoons like dinosaur eggs stuffed with glue.

Girls of the dirty morning, ticketed and spent,
you will be less at forty than at twenty.
Your living is a waste product of somebody’s mill.
I would fix you like buds to a city where people work
to make and do things necessary and good,
where work is real as bread and babies and trees in parks
where we would all blossom slowly and ripen to sound fruit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Degenerate Art Stream

Like all of the art that comes from the Degenerate Art Ensemble, their blog is smart, sometimes grating, and always surprising. The musicians of DAE write superb pieces on their own, and often feature unexpectedly excellent and out-of-left-field guests, such as Seattle musician Beth Fleenor who grew up in a planetarium and is behind this recent series of guest posts. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Am Waiting

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

               I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting
for someone to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

More here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Missing Links

The Badgermin is exactly what it sounds like: a taxidermied badger with a theremin built into it. * Luis Bunuel makes a dry martini * "My husband is in the habit of buying a quart of wiskey every other day from a Chinese bootlegger named Chin Waugh living at 317-16th near Alder street." A letter to the Seattle Bureau of Prohibition, 1931 * Images of early 20th century bike culture in Australia * How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries * Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara has made a series of images that meticulously recreate some of Balthus’s most famous paintings *

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Scale of the Universe

This is beyond cool: the Homunculus Nebula and Quantum Foam together again. Scale of the Universe created by Cary and Michael Huang. Open it when you've got some time to kill.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Philadelphia photographer Zoe Strauss has teamed up with the Philadelphia Museum of Art to present her photography in a uniquely powerful way. The Museum has rented more than fifty commercial billboards throughout Philadelphia to serve as exhibitions of Strauss’ photographs, primarily photos of poor and working class people throughout the United States.

Commuters exiting the West Entrance at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia see a billboard with no corporate logos, no slogans, nothing to sell, just a photo of a homemade plywood sign that reads “Don’t Forget Us” in red spray paint, made by a Louisiana resident living through the after effects of the BP oil spill.

Another billboard shows a shabby alleyway between the row homes of the 6200 block of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia where more than 60 homes were destroyed during a famously violent confrontation between the MOVE organization and the Philadelphia City Police. Hard to imagine, but the city is currently full of these stirring images.

It's a fascinating and timely project. You must read more.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Real Comet Press

Real Comet Press was founded in 1981 by Seattle arts activist, and owner of the legendary Comet Tavern, Cathy Hillenbrand. This prescient enterprise published an amazing array of books that formed the bleeding edge of Seattle’s cultural rise. Fantagraphics was just one of the publishers who followed Real Comet's lead, and this Saturday, March 10, the Fantagraphics Bookstore Gallery celebrates the legacy of Cathy Hillenbrand with Real Comet Press: A Retrospective which runs through April 10. Among the many highlights of the retrospective will be displays of Lynda Barry's first four books and rare public appearances by cartoonist Michael Dougan, and graphic artist Art Chantry. On March 30, Hillenbrand joins cartoonists Ellen Forney and Jim Woodring, for a panel discussion on "Seattle’s Legacy of Counterculture Comix” at the Emerald City Comicon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I've spent a productive few hours digging through the work of Benjamin Gerull, a landscape and architectural photographer living and working in Munich. He brings his adventurous spirit and splendid eye to places you thought you knew. For all of its architectural beauty, you never see this side of Barcelona in travel photos. His work was recognized as part of the European Prize of Architectural Photography in 2009. Lots more here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Artificial Light

Since mid-February Fiber artist and Yarnbombing pioneer Suzanne Tidwell has been fitting knitted sleeves around trees at Anderson Park in Redmond, WA. This Thursday, March 8, the exhibit of 50 trees outfitted with brilliantly colored "tree cozies" opens to the public. The exhibit is free, and will be up until June 8th. Tidwell is also hosting two Knit-In events at Anderson Park on March 10 and 17 at which knitters can learn about the art form and contribute to additional sleeves for the installation. More here.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stacey Rozich

Seattle based illustrator Stacey Rozich has been preparing for an upcoming solo show, and she released some images of her new work to the excellent My Love For You is a Stampede of Horses. Just lovely images - strange scenes mixing the mystical and the quotidian, overflowing with color and detail. Rozich's show, The Last Wave , opens on April 5th at Flatcolor Gallery in Seattle. Until then, you can track her work in progress over here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Own the Night

From early 2009 to mid-2010, the Underbelly Project was the art world’s best-kept secret. After years of kept promises and hushed mouths, the book "We Own the Night" has finally been released offering some three hundred photographs of the project plus the death-defying stories from some of the participating artists.

The story has it that in 2005 New York street artist PAC first discovered a South Manhattan subway station that had been abandoned for 80 years. Compelled to revisit the place, he invited a collaborator, Workhorse, and the two of them conceived of turning the station into a gallery for the world’s leading urban artists. They arranged late-night trips to the "gallery" for more than 2 years, painting night after night to transform the space into the largest underground art gallery in the world.

When the curators declared the project finished in 2010, they invited a handful of friends and street-art friendly journalists who were sworn to secrecy, but there was no opening to show the work and the public were never invited. In late October of the same year, the secret was out when the New York Times ran a feature about an art installation that very few people would ever see. Soon afterward the space was boarded up by the MTA, and its location remains a secret to this day. The new book is the first full document of the work, and though I haven't seen it yet, I daresay it's set to become a seminal book on street art, and may even form the end of a history opened by Henry Chalfant.

More on this great project right here.