Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week #11: Required Reading

Transcript: Bill Moyers interviews Richard Rodriguez

I gleaned a number of delectable morsels from this book, allow me to share a few with you...

  • "A few weeks ago, in the newspaper (another day in the multicultural nation), a small iten: Riot in a Southern California high school.  Hispanic students protest, then smash windows, because African-American students get four weeks for black history month, whereas Hispanics get one.  The more interesting protest would be for Hispanics students to demand to be included in Black History Month.  The more interesting remedy would be for Hispanic History Week to include African History." - Richard Rodriquez
  • Black + White = Mutual Vanity
  • The call of nature is brown, even in five-star hotels. - Richard Rodriguez
  • The White Negro
  • The Sermon on The Mount

The mud we make...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week #11: Natural Toothpaste | Peppermint

Week #11: Wednesday

Inspired by the film focus of my host and the directive of a Facebook posting, I finally took advantage of an opportunity to catch a screening of Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett.  Highly recommended.  

Then, at the invitation of my host, I attended "Conversations with Leonard Lopate and DCTV's PRO-TV Filmmakers".  Johnny is an educator at DCTV and all of the young filmmakers featured during this radio program have been his students.

The Skin I'm In from DCTV on Vimeo.

Reflections of Thailand from DCTV on Vimeo.

Dependent from DCTV on Vimeo.

El Mariachi Infante from DCTV on Vimeo.


This bitter earth | 
What fruit it bears | What good is love | That no one shares | And if my life is like the dust | That hides the glow of a rose | What good am I | Heaven only knows

This bitter Earth | Can it be so cold | Today you're young | Too soon your old | But while a voice | Within me cries | I'm sure someone | May answer my call | And this bitter earth | May not be so bitter after all


Both Johnny and his roommate Zak are filmmakers and, as a consequence, EXTREME cinema aficionados.  As we enjoyed our first meal together, I quizzed them about their favorites.  So, in no particular order...


The Magnificent Ambersons | Red Dessert | The Double of Veronique | Strangers In Paradise | Marni | Nashville | Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore | Being There | Interiors | 400 Blows | Father | Five Easy Pieces | God's Stepchildren | Vagabond Nomad | Mondo

Being There | Harold & Maude | Magnolia | This Sporting Life | The Royal Tenenbaums | Rosemary's Baby | Silence of The Lambs | The Missing | Limbo | Boogie Nights | Network | Whale Rider | Shadow of a Doubt | Strangers on a Train | The Birds | City of Hope

Melodrama: A dramatic work which exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week #11: Johnny Ramos

My host for Week #11, Johnny Ramos, is the friend and colleague of Michael Paul Britto (Week #6) and it's already been a pleasure!  A photographer and filmmaker, Johnny's home is a spacious two bedroom in Crown Heights that he shares with a roommate he's known since college (Zak).  We all shared our first meal together (handmade ravioli from Little Italy, tossed salad, french bread toast and whiskey gingers) as I probed these two filmmakers for their  top movie picks...

I've been noticing that many of my hosts are tenders of altars (thanks for alerting me to this phenomenon, Legacy).  For some, this practice is entirely intentional, for others it's an outgrowth of personal documentation and casual collection.  Peeping Johnny's space, I was struck by the repeating motif of... chickens, roosters in particular.  Curious, I asked the deal and he schooled me on a cultural marker: Puerto Ricans like Chickens.  It's too wonderful to be real, but the perception actually exists! So much so, that Johnny routinely receives poultry figurines as gifts.  It even sounds good together- PUERTO RICANS LIKE CHICKENS (now say that 3 times, fast :->)

"You keep saying age is just a number, but that's like saying jail is just a room!" - Emily Q. Lu, Age 18

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


For our final 'Inflatable' evening together, Tom and I watched Nashville as we polished off a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Long familiar with the film's poster, this was my first viewing- I may have to add Robert Altman films to my NetFlix cue...  On a related note- I was reminded of one of my celebrity crushes: Lily Tomlin.  

Lemon yellow satin panties.

Tales from the Wig Crypt


Tom and share another affinity... WIGS!  From the brunette necessity of the orthodox Jewess to the blonde dazzlement of Beyonce-ites we are convinced of the hoodoo power of hair (bought, sewn and grown).  When I lived in Los Angeles I worked for a furrier who had  cold storage facilities in his shop.  Going inside to retrieve a client's mink was a surreal trip into a furry Narnia, and I have often replaced the suspended pelts with wigs in my daydreams.  I feel an installation coming on...


"You're as beautiful as a big black butterfly!"

An Exercise in Self Esteem

YouTube continues to reveal itself a kind of self help tool for the digital age.  I've learned how to walk in heels, master a smoky eye,  among other feminine arts.  Tom, a certified ladyologist, recently introduced me to the ATL phenomenon that is "Lady".  With her eye opening single, Yankin', I've now been schooled on the finer points of my own genitalia.  Allow me to share the ka-nowledge.

"Go get a goo-goo, it's good!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week #10: Toothpaste

Sex sounds at 4am...

Week #10: Required Reading

Written by Tom's Aunt Judy.

So, THAT'S where you got the name Ajax :-)

Week #10: Saturday Afternoon Stroll

Tom introduced me to his friend, Colin Sheppard as we went for a stroll from Greenpoint to Williamsburg. First stopping at JUNK, we rambled through a bin of discarded photographs to be ultimately purchased at .69 - 1.00 each.  See below for one of my selections.  Then, as a our stomachs and wallets dictated, we grubbed at a cheap and good tea/noodle shop...

Summon the meteor!

Meet the Lady...

Unexpected connections abound.  Both Tom and I apparently have a penchant for the exploration of the feminine.  Me?  I'm creating  commentary on the mainstream-womanly via WHITEBITCHES.  Tom is exploring the ladylike without such racialized constraints through his series Meet The Lady.

"Blending the intimacy of a film screening with the giddy momentum of a variety show, host Tom Blunt and his army of trained ladyologists employ every tool at their disposal.  With rarely screened clips, a blog, a found photo archive, live performances and interviews, Meet The Lady delivers insights into the secret lives of famous personalities and plants a flag on the line where camp and pure idolatry collide."

Week #10: Tom Blunt (or Making The Net Work)

Serendipity plays a significant role with regard to the connection with this week's host.  I was scheduled to hang with artists A.K. Burns and Katherine Hubbard, but a conflux of previous and unexpected commitments rained on our parade.  Fortunately, the team over at RECESS (Allison Weisberg and Maia Murphy) graciously introduced me to the incomparable Mr. Blunt.  Tall and trim, Tom cuts an affable figure and has proven himself to be a most generous host - especially since he didn't know me from a can of paint...

Three cat afternoon.  (Special shout out to Ajax, Dura, and Toby.)

Week #8: Toothpaste

Week #7: Toothpaste

Monday, April 4, 2011

Viral Video(s)

Okay, so in the midst of traveling with The Inflatable Mattress I am continuing my studio practice albeit in a more digital fashion.  One of the themes that I've been noticing is a move toward a more diverse discourse about contemporary art.  And I'm not just talking about the ethnic or cultural backgrounds of the  folks commenting.  The old school notion of ArtSpeak is becoming more obsolete as individuals are using language that speaks to a variety of communities, while maintaining conceptual accuracy.  In keeping with this, I've been introduced to the phenomenon that is Chuleta, the performative creation of Wanda Raimundi Ortiz, by my host Elia...

On another, more ridiculous note, Elia told me about a viral video that Wanda introduced her to.  Hilarity ensued.  Enjoy!

"DASSS IT!" - Maurica

Friday Night's Activity

Be Black Baby Resents: 

If There's No Dancing At The Revolution I'm Not Coming

Curated by Simone Leigh & Naomi Beckwith | RECESS ACTIVITIES, Inc.

Featuring work by Michael Paul Britto, Tova Carlin, Ava Hassinger, Maren Hassinger, Jennie Livingston,  Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (aka Chuleta) & Jacolby Satterwhite with MC Elia Alba

Andy Brown (c) 2011

"In response to Emma Goldman’s statement, “If there’s no dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming” the third iteration of Be Black Baby a House Party Presents will stage an evening of site-specific performance, video and dancing in the street." READ MORE


Week #9: Required Reading

There is a continued conversation between artists of color who explore the permeable boundaries of identity- especially between Black artists and Latino artists.  I find it to be a verbal Venn diagram in which politicized notions of blackness overlap and/or repel cultural distinctions, language, skin color, and hair texture.  Being the friends and colleagues that we are, Elia and I participate fully in this dialogue.  I think this might have influenced her selection of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as my assigned text.  Beautifully written, with the dopest footnotes ever, the story is already populating my dreams...

That's Jesus Christ mistake, I need science to fix it. 

Week #9: Toothpaste


Since Week 8 (Ethany Uttech) my postings have sporadic at best.  That is not to say that my guestings have been uneventful, on the contrary, it's been such a a whirlwind of activity that it's taken me until week 9 (almost 10) to offer a recap.  So, I'll start from the current day and work my way back...
Feet | Elia Alba (c) 2008

My host for week #9 is Elia Alba.  I fortunately know a few SUPERWOMEN and Elia is not only a client but a president.  She is an artist that integrates a photo-based practice with sculptural and performance forms, creating a body of work that reflects identity, locality and a Diasporan point of view.  Mom to brilliant 13 year old son, I am witness to the daily maneuverings of school-work-creativity that blossom in that household.

White niggas pick you up early.