Saturday, October 29, 2005

old lady



Ah. Human Exhibit is over, and went quite well. I think...I'll get feedback next week from people I know who went. I kissed lots of people on the cheek (one guy was really tall and I didn't shoot high enough so that was more like a jawline kiss. I hope he didn't feel cheated). One woman on the lips, one man on the lips, a forehead or two, a few hands, and a shoulder. I also ate WAY TOO MUCH JUNK FOOD in our makeshift green room. I got really sick from that. Ew. So I'm excited to get back to eating better. And to "focusing" on my work. Though I'm starting to ringlead again and try to get our grad students more vocal about what's not cool in the program...I think about what Shawn said to me last year: "now Aimee, remember that leadership is not chosen, it's granted."

Anyhow, in the end, it was really lovely to work with the people in the workshop; everyone stepped up and really made it work, which was so delightful to experience: commitment to a shared cause. How great are our costumes? Tyvek rocks. I love that AJ thought I was at least six years younger than I am. Ah, the joys of a chingychong life.

After gathering about a million props, talking to Greg about how he ripped half his thumbnail off at the end of the show and started to bleed profusely, and eating disgusting amounts of goldfish, mini carrot cake cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and pita chips with hummus, (oh, and experiencing Greg's trunk prop thing on his car totally poop out), I got a ride home and had one of the best conversations I've had in a while. It's soooo good to meet great Obies. And just really human humans. I also find that my best talks are with people driving me home and doing the routine: stop, park, idle, idle, idle, idle, finally shut off the engine. I always feel extremely bad about the idling (even though I know my ecological footprint is still horrendously large...I get nervous about long-idling cars and reading for too long with my glasses on - since they're for distance, not close-up things). But the conversation is always stellar. And on a mild autumn evening! Good times.

I also had a good yoga class despite being extremely distracted by the energy of the guy who walked in late and set up next to me on my right side. It's always so interesting to see how people handle their first Forrest class. I asked to do backbends b/c I hadn't had a really screamingly hard class in a while, and bridge will do it for me instantly. I was so...I don't even know what in camel pose that I couldn't help but vocalize whenever I breathed. I sounded like someone dying. Awfully embarrassing, but my teacher (who is fantastic! Massive props to Dearbhla Kelly! Look her up at http://www.mokshayoga.com/community/dearbhlakelly.html) still adjusted me. I got the face tingles, which I love. Means that stuff is really going on. So the next steps are looking for good meditation instruction and finding a shaman/someone to work through trauma with ritual, on a spiritual level.

ps - I asked Clif yesterday if, despite all my intense disgruntledness with grad school, I still look better than I did when I was working in NYC. He said, "you're whole EVERYTHING is better. Frankly, you kind of looked like a junkie back in NY." HAHAHA!!!! I love it. It's good to get affirmation once in a while that I'm on a healthy path. I talked to my sister about it, and she was like, but aren't you good at arts admin? [what I was doing in NY] and I was like, well, Hitler was good at what he did, but does that mean he should have done it? I clearly am better off for the time being not doing admin work in the arts.

Crazy Horse

An hour until yoga and I got a nice chunk of sleep last night. Except the wacko dreams: learning that in calligraphy, you dot your i going from right to left (something totally made up in dreamland - not official calligraphy rules!); eating fruit tart in front of Jessica DelMauro and finally offering some to her (ok, this is part of tonight's performance, so it's not like I was being mean in the dream), and then moving to another dressing room and scolding Jessica Simpson b/c she was late for her entrance and it was b/c she was totally strung out on who knows what....mmm, now I forget the rest.

But I am a little concerned about the performance tonight. I feel like more than half the workshop was just doing crazy logistical stuff that the gallery didn't take care of, and yesterday was kind of a panic mode and no one knew what was going on anywhere at any given time. At least AJ was nice enough to get us food since all the gallery gave us was bottled water for dinner. [FYI - my diet has gone to hell these two weeks, but I'm not getting upset about it b/c I know it was b/c of the workshop and I'll soon stop eating out of the vending machine, eating fried chicken, eating gross "chewy" chips ahoy (that's just WRONG), etcetc.] But it will be all over soon enough, and then I can concentrate on the BIG PERFORMANCE in November.

I feel pretty decent about that one, though. I did a run of 30 sheets of watermarked paper yesterday morning for it, and was like, oh, if I just did 30 a day and did it three times a week, I'd be about almost done w/all the papermaking...that is, if I stick w/the original plan of just having one sheet of paper act as a "book" rather than having multiple pages and covers. Don't let me try and make 100 real books!

I've been listening to Mazzy Star incessantly and totally engrossed in the book Jill gave me. This end of a chapter killed me (and then I swear I'm going to get dressed and run to yoga class):

Personally, I love Crazy Horse b/c even the most basic outline of his life shows how great he was; because he remained himself from the moment of his birth to the moment he died; b/c he knew exactly where he wanted to live, and never left; b/c he may have surrendered, but he was never defeated in battle; b/c, although he was killed, even the Army admitted the was never captured; b/c he was so free that he didnt' knowo what a jail looked like; b/c at the most desperate moment of his life he only cut Little Big Man on the hand; because, unlike many people all over the world, when he met white men he was not diminished by the encounter; b/c his dislike of the oncoming civilization was prophetic; b/c the idea of becoming a farmer apparently never crossed his mind; b/c he didn't end up in the Dry Tortugas; b/c he never met the President; b/c he never rode on a train, slept in a boardinghouse, ate at a table; b/c he never wore a medal or a top hat or any other thing that white men gave him; b/c he made sure that his wife was safe before going to where he expected to die; b/c although Indian agents, among themselves, somtimes referred to Red Cloud as "Red" and Spotted Tail as "Spot," they never used a diminutive for him; b/c, deprived of freedom, power, occupation, culture, trapped in a situation where bravery was invisible, he was still brave; b/c he fought in self-defense, and took no one w/him when he died; b/c, like the rings of Saturn, the carbon atom, and the underwater reef, he belonged to a category of phenomena which our technology had not then advanced far enough to photograph; b/c no photograph or painting or even sketch of him exists; b/c he his not the Indian on the nickel, the tobacco pouch, or the apple crate. Crazy Horse was a slim man of medium height w/brown hair hanging below his waist and a scar above his lip. Now, in the mind of each person who imagines him, he looks different.

I believe that when Crazy Horse was killed, something more than a man's life was snuffed out. Once, America's size in the imagination was limitless. After Europeans settled and changed it, working from the coasts inland, its size in the imagination shrank. Like the center of a dying fire, the Great Plains held that original vision longest. Just as people finally came to the Great Plains and changed them, so they came to where Crazy Horse lived and killed him. Crazy Horse had the misfortune to live in a place which existed both in reality and in the dreams of people far away; he managed to leave both the real and the imaginary place unbetrayed. What I return to most often when I think of Crazy Horse is the fact that in the adjutant's office he refused to lie on the cot. Mortally wounded, frothing at the mouth, grinding his teeth in pain, he chose the floor instead. What a distance there is between that cot and the floor! On the cot, he would have been, in some sense, "ours": an object of pity, an accident victim, "the noble red man, the last of his race, etc.etc." But on the floor Crazy Horse was Crazy Horse still. On the floor, he began to hurt as the morphine wore off. On the floor, he remembered Agent Lee, summoned him, forgave him. On the floor, unable to rise, he was guarded by soldiers even thn. On the floor, he said goodbye to his father and Touch the Clouds, the last of the thousands that once followed him. And on the floor, still as far from white men as the limitless continent they once dreamed of, he died. Touch the Clouds pulled the blanket over his face: "That is the lodge of Crazy Horse." Lying where he chose, Crazy Horse showed the rest of us where we are standing. With his body, he demonstrated that the floor of an Army office was part of the land, and that the land was still his.

--Ian Frazier, Great Plains (pp. 117-119)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

whoa tired

AAAARGH. How does it always get to be 1am so quickly?? And I still have to book a flight to NY for Dec/Jan, firm up my interview questions for Friday's performance and tomorrow's rehearsal, and and and...I came home after mad bookbinding and trashy food at rehearsal, wondering when the sirens would stop. After about ten minutes, I was finally like, OH! It's the post-World Series madness!

I can't wait until I get out of sports teams land.

Today one of the undergrad work aides was super sad and crying at her gallery desk post, and I was like are you okay? Poor thing. So of course I immediately wanted to make her a book. I was able to control my impulse until AFTER I was done w/my own book for class, but whipped together this super-cute handmade paper quickie coptic variation: butter pages, straw-colored covers, red thread, and a little frame on the cover that was built to slip a photo or something in. Then I showed her the trick we learned last month for tipping in photos w/o adhesives. She was totally overjoyed and I got a hug.

I wish it was always like that. Where you see people's vulnerability, and you do what you can, and people want to learn things and get to know you and just...instead of all the no one giving a shit about anything besides their dogs. Not to knock people w/dogs. But does that make sense? I'm way tired, so maybe not. I've been reading the book Jill gave me for my bday and it's quite exceedingly depressing (Great Plains - the parts about Crazy Horse and other horribly tragic Indian extinction stories).

But yay! I'll be in NY, working hard on thesis IDEAS for a month, late Dec to late Jan. And hopefully tomorrow the water in the pipes won't be all nasty rusty so I can actually shower.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Winding down

I think it's hilarious that I told Elisabeth a couple weeks ago that I was sick of people in class having emotional reactions to everything and sick of how people can't function intellectually. Then tonight, I go off on a huge emotional tangent and lead the class astray for about an hour. Fantastic. It must be the part of me that wants people I leave behind not to forget me, so I raise hell for the whole time I'm around. OR, like Melissa says, it's that diva in me that is just winding up big time for a performance.

I think I need to water my flaming katy. I just remembered this morning, "oh, I should probably water the thing."

Melissa knocked some sense into me today about my performance, after Joy did the same last night and I had a mini-breakthrough, turned my computer back on, and wrote another chapter of a story I started my first year of grad school. It's finally all starting to make sense! Double princesses, birds, abandony mothers, loss...it shocked me when I re-read the last chapter I wrote last year. I was like, OMG!!! It's happening! The thing where your art knows better than you and is trying to show you something you need to know.

You know what that means...I'll be in the studio tomorrow, pulling big sheets of paper. I found that adding a little clay to it makes it easier to deal with. Must remember to do that.

I was looking tonight at the book Mary brought to class of Anselm Kiefer's books, and was thinking, I want to do that, I want to do that. That's probably a good sign. I re-read an interview in Art Journal tonight about teaching art, and why so many kids are getting MFAs nowadays, and how the system is failing us if we are only given two options: the marketplace or teaching. THANK YOU, Daniel Martinez, for being the lone voice out there saying that there really just might be another option, and that artists can exist in the world and not take those routes. And survive. Well, I guess Clif said that he's really interested in artists who go out and make a living for themselves. He's lucky, b/c he's such a great teacher and a great artist. So he gets to do it all.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering when I should schedule my next practice room time to get some piano time, and feel my violin callouses wearing away so I should practice that, too, and am staring at all the blank books on my bookshelf, and just wonder what will become of me. I remember asking myself that question all the time when Githa was dying: what will become of me? what will become of me? I've been thinking about that a lot more lately - her death, her life, our relationship.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Orange sandalwood

[what I did last year in this Tic Toc residency performance.] Ug. Feel totally gross from "dinner" at the performance workshop: cheese cubes, parmesan goldfish, giant goldfish (downright wrong and scary if you ask me), bread, spicy trail mix, some fruit, and water. My eating well habits just went out the window. But at least I got a nice dose of thrifting done today @ Brown Elephant: two pairs of black pants and a nice long dress that will be super easy to wash. (Of course I cut up my knuckles on the stapled tag on the pockets...I bust out the lotion Cristal gave us for as wedding favors and it smells so much nicer on the skin than from the bottle!) I really think my last thrift shop days were at Oberlin. I think of that, and then I think of Louis. I went with Loni, which was nice but always strange. She soooo reminds me of Githa, in too many ways.

Fall is so nice. I can't believe how much of it we're getting this year. All my stressing about this performance coming up makes me want to just become a yogini and never worry about program notes or technical needs or rehearsal schedules again. Right now, I'm SO SAD that I don't have a TV. That would be perfect.

In the meantime, mark your calendars! HUMAN EXHIBIT, Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 S Wabash, Chicago: Friday, Oct. 28 @ 7pm. It's going to be a fun performance (culmination of this workshop).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Just under eight hours


To calculate your Korean age: you are one when you're born and everyone gains a year at the same time: new year's day. But I don't live in Korea, so today (my birthday) I've been my new age for about 7.5 hours. And according to my sister's boyfriend, that would be eighteen.

I was so fried from a whole weekend of bookbinding that when I heard the "happy eighteenth birthday!" message, I believed it. Ha! Now I'm going to crawl into bed and listen to "Tabula Rasa" (Arvo Part) and think about my big performance coming up in exactly one month.

Here is the shameless promotion for it: Site Unseen, Wed Nov 16, 6-9pm, Chicago Cultural Center.

after-the-fact ps: This would be me and Shayna at Kamehachi for our mutual birthday sushi.