Art

Opening tomorrow, on view through Nov. 1

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 | Art | No Comments

What I Did This Summer by SanFranChrisKo

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 | Art, Film, Food, Friends, Travel | 1 Comment

I’m up at my buddy David’s, enjoying a quiet weekend at his place in Point Reyes, overlooking the placid Tomales Bay, like sitting in a Monet painting, finally able to do some catching up.

For the past few months I’ve been preparing a show of my work, my first solo exhibition in 7 years. I’m showing now with an artists collective in Oakland, the Mercury Twenty Gallery. The thought of being with another commercial gallery—well, actually their collective sort of decision to not work with me, lol—pushed me into seeking an alternative venue to show my work in, one not constrained by profit or homogeneity, but defined by community and the support of ideas and creativity. The members of the collective are responsible for all aspects of running the gallery and presenting exhibitions. I have a backlog of projects, rejected over the past few years by the likes of Mark, Pat, Paule, Brian, and Bernie, that I’ll now have the opportunity of moving from my basement into the light of the white cube, that you all can finally see!, beginning with my recent projects Bouquet and A Dozen Little Roses that opens this Thursday.

So David. He and I dated briefly 20 or so years ago. He’s kind of exactly the guy that I should have settled down with, but I was distracted by the chubby men. Years go by without seeing each other, but whatever attracted us to each other in the first place keeps bringing us back together. He’s working on his memoirs in the garden, while I wait for the blur of my summer activities to coalesce into some internet appropriate narrative.

Big Chris’ big family visited. We took them to see the sea lions at Pier 39, via the touristy Hyde Street Pier and Pier 39, but they were all off mating somewhere. San Franciscans never visit this part of the city. And really, they shouldn’t. Seeing the remains of what was once a working port was sort of thrilling but also instilled a sad sense of loss in my otherwise chirpy proto-tourist demeanor. I love the crazy gospel people, though, the ones with the “He died for you” signs and portable amplification systems, next to the break dancers and old Chinese erhu players. Their sincerity and intensity and vaudevillian showmanship make for great family entertainment, like the 8-year old reverend Jimmy Joe Jeeter on Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. And I love hearing those Bible words, like “smite” and “asunder.”

My mom flew to Chicago to spend some time with her sister, so I flew to Birmingham to dadsit. The downtown is really hopping, with a new arts district and lots of really great restaurants. Rather than replacing southern cuisine with healthy west coast or skimpy nouvelle stuff, they’re integrating other styles and flavors while emphasizing local ingredients and updating classic southern dishes. And you always get a square meal.

Same thing is happening in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Chrissy and I flew out for Labor Day weekend to pick up d’Auggie’s little brother, Zoobie, the latest addition to our ever expanding alternative family. Zoobie is great, the brother of the Best Dog Ever, soon to be the Other Best Dog Ever. He’s soft and cuddly and does all the same bad things that his brother did when he was a small puppy, down to chewing on the same plant in my garden and peeing on the same spot in my kitchen. So Sioux Falls has this little foodie renaissance happening downtown. We ate at Parker’s Bistro. My favorite dish was a soup, a warm silky sweet potato soup with a puree of chilly avocado and cream swirled into it, stimulating the taste buds with contrasting flavor and temperature sensations. We had an amazing meal, at about 1/4 the price we would have paid in San Francisco. And a parking place right out in front! I’m thinking of becoming a part-time mid-westerner.

Chrissy and I flew to New York for a few days. Just to remind people: we are not boyfriends. Despite his looking like the kind of guy that I would marry, despite having dated him on and off for the past 15 years, and despite us doing everything together, we are not boyfriends. My boyfriend lives in Greece and is named Stavros and you can read about him in my past entries, and when he arrives next month for his periodic conjugal visit. So anyway, New York. The occasion of our visit was to see Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert in Genet’s The Maids, two of our greatest actresses in a deliriously demented play. And Jeff Koons’ show was great! Shut up! People who don’t like his work probably don’t like puppies either.

What else did I do this summer? I sadly missed all chances to have anything other than my extremities exposed to the sun, and thus developed a pronounced farmer tan. High school buddies Jason and Weestro came to visit, and Archie and Vicki, and Lilly from New York. Lilly was being celebrated for her films at the Jewish something or other Center in Berkeley, and I went one night to see her amazing film about good-intentioned heroic Palestinian and Israeli women peacemakers who end up at each others’ throats by the end of the film. I introduced my buddy to her afterwards and he said something along the lines of “Well, I can’t imagine giving Manhattan back to the indians” which amazingly and almost surreally missed the entire point of not only Lilly’s film but the entire Palestinian peoples’ ongoing struggle to free their land from its occupiers. Lilly’s talk after the film was interesting more for the sparring that took place in the audience. This was a mostly over-70 crowd, mind you, and most seemed well acquainted with each other and with each other’s long developed and unchanging perspectives, and ready to pounce. When one calm and articulate rival of hers seemed to be getting too much positive attention, Lilly leaned into her mike and chastised her with “Hey, this evening is about ME, not about you.” I started a new photo project with spider webs, Bob’s and my book project got shelved by our publisher, Aimée made raspberry-topped chocolate cupcakes for Luna’s birthday that were the best treats of summer—actually the best sweet treats, the best savory were the forbidden victuals at Traif in Brooklyn. I saw hardly any art. I’m like a lapsed Catholic kind of artist. Well, actually, I should say that I saw hardly any art that I can remember. Except for Christopher Williams’ The Production Line of Happiness at MoMA, which so completely and with energetic theoretical rigor encompassed the entire art making visual technical consumerist experience. I saw a million movies, but really liked Blue Ruin, The Test, Pietà, Night Moves, Martin Gable’s only (directed) film The Lost Moment, Stranger by the Lake, 7 Boxes, Enemy, Romance and Cigarettes and Under the Skin.

Okay, back to the city…

For Love and Glory

Friday, July 18th, 2014 | Art, Friends | No Comments

I stopped by Jack Fischer’s gallery in San Francisco last week, to see the work of my friend, Sarah Ratchye. Sarah led me and a delightful buddy of hers through the exhibition, For Love and Glory, which consists of graphite and silverpoint drawings, paintings, collages, and handmade wallpaper. There are images of lunar surfaces, octopus tentacles, ballet slippers, fabric, gems, floating astronauts, the Venetian lagoon, blood splattered space gloves… disparate images woven into a narrative that explores our interaction with the moon, both as graphic inspiration and potential living space. Well, and a lot more than that. Sarah explores the surface of the moon aesthetically and metaphorically, searching for meaning in our involvement and experience there.

Her eyes light up when she talks about space junk, the “final frontier,” and bloody moon shoes. Yet like not wanting someone to spoil the end of the movie, I don’t want her to talk too much about this stuff and upset the experience of discovery. I could look at those silverpoints all day, lost in the folds of lunar landscapes, and suddenly there’s an arm, or those ballet slippers. There’s always deeper to dig, always some delightfully enigmatic image that frustrates an easy reading.

A particular favorite of mine, DIvr, has as a backdrop a blurry image of a few buildings on the Venetian lagoon. In the foreground, in sharp focus, are an upside down astronaut, the sea reflected in his silvery helmet, and above him a woman’s bathing cap, one of those fabulous mid-20th-century architectural rubber floral helmets that Esther Williams would have worn, removing it to reveal a perfectly coifed shimmery Technicolor ‘do. The background image dissolves on the right side of the canvas into a different plane of reflected lagoon water. The slight shifts in focus and perspective within the same canvas create a kind of soft Cubist space, but instead of letting us view an object from many perspectives within one picture plane, Sarah fills her painting surface with beautifully rendered psychologically rich images of different cultural and technological signifiers.

You could call her a lunatic, hahaha… One painting titled Menas, presents the moon as menace, seemingly entering the earth’s atmosphere–the sky is pink, the clouds black and brooding–yet the moon has these red blossoms around it, like a flower a kid would paint, and the surface of the moon so beautifully bright and crisply clear. If she can’t get to the moon just yet, the moon is finally coming to her, and in humanity’s end, she finds nothing but delight and wonder.

It’s not the same old story, Sarah’s tales of love and glory. On that you can rely.

Small Works in Oakland

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 | Art | 1 Comment

I have some photos in a little group show at the Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland, pictures taken in Greece over the past 2 years.  Please check out the show, a sweet assemblage of Delectable and Collectible items.  I will be in the gallery this Friday, Jan 3 from 3-6, and later that evening for the Friday Art Murmer, from 6-9.  My photos are super cheap, $75 for small prints, $50 for slightly smaller ones.  Shop!  Shop!

SMALL WORKS: Delectable/Collectible | Dec 19 thru Jan 4

MERCURY 20 GALLERY
475 25th Street, Oakland
Thurs – Sat 12 to 6pm

Oakland Art Murmur First Friday: Jan 3, 6-9pm

WORKS BY:
Julie Alvarado
Jo Ann Biagini
Eric Bohr
Nick Dong
Terryl Dunn
P.K. Frizzell
Kathleen King
Chris Komater
Leah Markos
Jill McLennan
Charlie Milgrim
Jann Nunn
Mary Curtis Ratcliff
Joanna Salska
Julianne Sterling
Kerry Vander Meer
Joan Weiss

Founded in 2006, Mercury 20 is a contemporary art gallery established, supported and operated by East Bay artists. Mercury 20 maintains a venue for artists to exhibit, develop, and advance their work and is committed to exhibiting art of diverse media and content. Exhibitions rotate every six weeks, and the gallery presents a well-attended opening event every first Friday in conjunction with the Oakland Art Murmur.

Broadway, Burglary, and Sergeants Bert & Ernie

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 | Art, Film, Food, Friends, Travel | No Comments

Big Chrissy and I took a trip to New York City for Christmas.  We had our luggage stolen from our hotel room, but we saw some great shows, were photographed by Bill Cunningham buying bananas in Brooklyn, and got to ride in a cop car!

The night our luggage was stolen, we made our way to the local precinct to report the burglary.  It was just like in Barney Miller, a shabby interior filled with wise-cracking, heavily-New-York-accented helpful cops.  They drove us back to our hotel in a real NYPD cruiser, but somehow the back seat was pushed forward taking up all the legroom, so Chrissy sat side-saddle and I in a lotus position.  Looking through the rain-smeared windows at the blinking lights outside I thought of Taxi Driver and Bernard Hermann’s haunting score.  “This is totally worth being burgled,” I told the cops.

We spent several hours with them at the hotel, as we waited for the fingerprint guy.  I told them that we had already fouled the crime scene and that fingerprints weren’t necessary and that in San Francisco the police would have never taken the theft of our underwear and socks so seriously.  “Aren’t there other crimes in the neighborhood that you guys should be looking into?  Rapes?  Murders?”  Sergeants Bert & Ernie looked at us gravely, “We take every crime seriously.”  Chrissy and I just melted.  New York cops are indeed the finest.

We saw Isaac Julien’s ridiculous but sumptuous installation at MoMA, supposedly about some tragic drowning, but really about Maggie Cheung flying over gorgeous Chinese scenery, the subject matter seemingly of no real interest to the artist or anybody there.  The Margritte show was just a delight, completely amazing the dazzlingly mature and inventive body of work that he produced from the ages of 28-30.  Walking through Mike Kelly’s retrospective at PS1, the only thought that came to mind was that suicide was inevitable.  Ah, Wangechi Mutu’s show at the Brooklyn Museum was the show for me.  First of all, nobody goes there, to the Brooklyn Museum, so you can really spend time with the work with no one taking pictures over your shoulders.  She creates collages and sculptural pieces that are simultaneously lovely and disturbing, two qualities that I strive for but rarely achieve.  I’m totally going to steal from her this year, so watch out…

On Broadway we saw two Pinter plays, No Man’s Land with Ian McKellan and Captain Picard, and Beyrayal with Rafe Spall, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. Pinter can create scenes that have nothing to do with plot or story, just language, how we use it, what it does… Of course there usually is some kind of story, but the dialogue is about the essence of communication and words liberated from silly things like narrative. We also saw the awesome Laurie Metcalf and Jeff Goldblum in Domesticated, which takes as its thesis the basic inessential and catastrophe-prone nature of the male of the species. We saw a couple of other things, but I don’t think they were all that memorable, so let’s move on…

We met up with Emily for a traditional Ukranian Christmas Eve repast at Veselka’s in the East Village, followed by American Hustle. As we left the movie, and once again Jennifer Lawrence was dynamite, after having eaten all the same things and with Chrissy and I about to explode, Emily announced that she was going out for dinner. What a metabolism! And she’s like this super skinny chick. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

We spent Christmas lunch eating Swedish meatballs in the West Village and seeing Jia Jiang-Ke’s completely depressing A Little Sin on those stupid little IFC screens that they should really only charge $5 entry to see, then meeting my brother Paul and sister-in-law Debbie at their hotel near Grand Central. Chrissy and I didn’t want to leave their room–unlike ours, theirs had a window. And a view. Not that ours didn’t have a window, or a view, of sorts. Our window opened onto a narrow eternally dark alley that only a pigeon could squeeze into, our view the filthy building windows next door, mounded with pigeon poop dating back to the early days of Broadway. We enjoyed a really great French dinner in the West Village, laughing and stuffing ourselves silly. The next morning we met at the big tree in Rockefeller Center and toured the murals in the GE Building, imagining what Diego Rivera’s mural there would have looked like. It was ordered destroyed by Nelson Rockefeller after Rivera refused to replace Lenin’s portrait with that of an anonymous face. The subsequent murals, by Josep Maria Cert, form an almost homoerotic allegory depicting big beefy white guys constructing modern America in loin cloths–just like I’ve imagined it…

Two Weeks in Frisco

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 | Art, Performance, Stavros, Travel | No Comments

I’m not sure how the word “Frisco” became associated with a less-sophisticated appellation, but I warmly embrace it, in the company of every wisecracking dame and hard-boiled fedora-wearing tough-guy from Joan Blondell to Burt Lancaster and Edward G. Robinson, as the preferred nickname of our fair town. Stavros was here. And now he’s gone. Frisco just ain’t the same.

We spent a little weekend together in the Russian River, stopping in Petaluma and then driving through the Dry Creek wine country and doing some tasting. We stayed in Monte Rio, on the river under the redwoods at the Village Inn, where scenes were shot for the 1942 Bing Crosby Fred Astaire movie Holiday Inn, best remembered for the song “White Christmas.” Across the bridge, on the other side of the river is a little vintage quonset hut movie theater, The Rio, where we saw Don John. It’s so cold in the theater they give you wool blankets to snuggle up under. There were only 4 or so of us in the audience. This theater is a little gem, with murals painted by local artists, and the ceiling draped in the remnants of Christo’s “Running Fence.”

We saw the David Hockney show at the de Young. While a young student at the San Francisco Art Institute, working my way through school by cashiering at Marcello’s Pizza on Castro, one of the cooks at Marcello’s, David Dambacher, an older little man with a sort of nasally voice, took a liking to me, constantly bringing up “Daaaaa-vid.” Daaaaa-vid this and Daaaaa-vid that… David Hockney. They were friends in LA. I had never heard of David Hockney, which exasperated his attempts to impress me. I just thought, if this guy were a good buddy of this “famous” artist, what was he doing working as a pizza cook for $6.25/hour? One day he showed up while I was working and laid out a little picnic on one of the tables, with baguette, wine and cheese, and a monograph of works by David Hockney. A few weeks later at school, I noticed that my photos were missing from the darkroom drying racks. I didn’t think anything of it until I received a ransom note from David, demanding my body in exchange for my art. He continued aggressively pursuing me until one day I received a barf bag on my doorstep, covered in scribblings announcing that he was moving out of town and that I would never hear from him again, brutally assaulting my ignorance and failure to grasp the intensity and beauty of our potential coupling.

So, David Hockney. The show was great. Although he blew up these little iPad drawings into museum-ready numbered editioned prints, which completely turned me off. Rather than fully embracing a new technology, he merely made the same old stuff look like it was drawn by a robot.  Otherwise, the color and scale and vibrance of the rest of the work was just the thing to enjoy as a contrast to all the conceptual and abstract swaggering going on about town. One room in particular contained one of the most mesmerizing video installations I’ve seen in a while. On each of the 4 walls of the room he mounted a grid of flat-panel TV screens, each grid showing the same scene, moving slowly down a country road, but at different times of the year, each of the 4 scenes synched at the same point on the road. Such a simple gesture, walking down a country road, but executed with extraordinarily complex visual and digital engineering. I am so sorry I didn’t know who he was when I had the chance to get some real dirt on this guy 30 years ago.

My friend Emily took us to hear Cameo in concert at Yoshi’s on Halloween. I dressed up as a swinging disco dude, Michael Caine’s little brother circa 1977. My feet were so sore from my platform shoes that I didn’t dance. I don’t know how John Travolta did it. And my head was so itchy under my wig, I just wanted to go home and wash it. But I didn’t, afterwards we wandered around Castro Street and mingled with the other revelers, constantly scratching at my wig until finally limping up the hill to my house.

I introduced Stavros to chicken mole and dim sum on this trip. That’s like watching Vertigo for the first time. Twice. Which he hasn’t seen, actually, but I’m saving that for the next trip. We drank martinis with Dean Smith and Mike Kitchell, and I think all of us passed out during My Dog Tulip, which seemed an appropriate thing to watch and do after the Hockney show. We shopped at Macy’s. We had Little Star Pizza with my family and ended up with 2 whole leftover pizzas, the last 2 slices of which I’m currently nibbling on for lunch today. We saw Gravity in 3-D with Daniel. We went to my sister’s open studio and marveled at her ability to draw so fluidly with wire and marbles. We nibbled on free food at the Ferry Building and Trader Joe’s. I made a traditional bolognese meat sauce with texturized vegetable protein. Stavros made his famous eggs for breakfast and many recipes from his One-Spoon Project. We walked d’Auggie around the Castro together. We inadvertently staged an impromptu mini Danish film festival. We hiked with Big Chrissy and Small d’Auggie at Fort Funsten. We brunched with Dean and Chris at Kate’s Kitchen. We ate expensive pastries and drank coffee with Nemr and his current ex-husband at Craftsmen & Wolves and hung out with the hipsters on Valencia.

And now we talk every day via FaceTime and Skype, the vast distances between us seeming not so vast anymore.

J Jump Joyful Jumble Around

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 | Art, Stavros, Travel | No Comments

Here I am, back in Greece. While the Republicans hold the nation hostage back home, I’m sipping ouzo and enjoying the last warm days of a summer that keeps extending itself further and further towards Christmas.

The day after I got here, Stavros and I drove down to our favorite beach in Schinias, almost the only people on the beach. While bobbing around in the surf, a stray dog emerged from the pine trees bordering the beach, causing a bit of panic as we thought the pooch was going to snarf our picnic items, but instead he sauntered slowly down to the water, wet its paws, one at a time, looked us over, and then returned to the pines.

There was a very interesting series of exhibits in Athens last week, ReMap 4. Participating artists created temporary installations in abandoned buildings, apartment units, and other public and private spaces in the Kerameikos-Metaxourgeio neighborhoods. Gagosian and Peres Projects hosted installations, converting their spaces, like neocolonialist ambassadors of culture, into temporary New York-like sleek gallery spaces. James Turrell’s light installation was set in a lovely old building, but any trace of place was eliminated by converting the room into a dark characterless cube, the single window in the room emanating slightly changing blurry colors from a frosted glass plate. Turrell claims that this work is about space and the light that inhabits it, but it’s not. It’s about TV, only blurry.

In Wyatt Kahn and Wesley Martin Berg’s installations in a 19th century apartment building, the space was left untouched, the crumbling details of the building–wall trim, mosaic floors, lovely old doors and windows–creating a visually charged domestic backdrop for their enigmatic and intriguing forms. Kahn makes polyagonal canvases that are bolted together into single rectangular picture planes. Berg presented sculptures and paintings based on a single hobo-like figure, each work formed from gloppy black neo-expressionist strokes. The confident messiness of their gestures seemed well-suited to the dilapidated beauty of the building.

In a newer, but also crumbling sort of utilitarian post-WWII apartment building, an artist created intriguing drippy brightly colored flat rectangles and circular forms on the stairway walls and hallway. I don’t know who did them, but the aesthetic seemed borne of the site and situation, just the type of art that belonged on those walls.

After ReMap, Stavros and I went to his cousin’s wedding. My first big fat Greek wedding! The service was very wordy, the priest addressing the bride and groom for what seemed like an eternity, loopy fabric rings placed on their heads at one point, lots of hand and ring kissing, the couple circling around the priest… At the reception after, I was forced to do that Greek dance that you see in the movies. I had studied the foot movements for several minutes prior, sure that at any moment I was going to be pushed onto the dance floor, and thought I discerned a footstep pattern and was already dancing in my head, but as soon as I was up there, I’m sure I looked like an idiot. But what the heck, it was really fun. I even discoed and ponied with Stavros’ mom and sister. Stavros’ mom asked him if I were available as prospective husband material for his sister. Not eager to tell his parents that I’m prospective husband material for their son, Stavros sidestepped the question in a way that led to further delightfully silly complications worthy of a Rock Hudson and Doris Day script.

The day after we drove to the Peloponnesos, to the mountains northeast of Corinth, after a little dip in the sea at Kiato. We visited the Zaraka Monastery ruins, built in 1225 by the Cistercians, one of the few examples of western gothic architecture in Greece. Winding through the lovely wine country, we made our way to Lake Stymphalia. This was the site of one of Hercules’ Labors, the slaying of the Stymphalian birds, or “the giant chickens” as Stavros calls them. These were man-eating birds with bronze beaks and poisonous metal feathers, pets of Ares, the god of war.

Driving through the mountains and dense pine forests, past the ruins of ancient Feneos, we visited an artificial lake, Lake Doxa, and to a monastery in the hills above, Agios Georgios. The monk-in-training invited us in to see the really wonderful 18th century byzantine paintings in the church, and then to come up for some “candy,” as Stavros translated. The monks make a rose jelly that our trainee offered us samples of, totally yummy, so we bought a few bottles and enjoyed his delightful company and the fabulous view from his terrace overlooking the valley and lake below.

From the monastery we continued our drive through the hills to the picturesque little village of Goura, named after a hero of the Greek War of Independence, whose house still stands there. We checked into a hotel built of stone, peaked heavy-beamed ceilings, wood paneling, our room overlooking the fertile plain below and mountains beyond. The only other tourists in town settled in the room right next to ours and generated exceptionally loud lovemaking sounds twice, the first time for about a minute late that night, the second time the next morning for a quick 5 seconds, a shrill “eee… eeeee… EEEEEEE!” The same couple also sat directly next to us at the only restaurant open this late in the season, our shared intimate squeaks and squeals acknowledged by a slight nod to each other as we checked out and headed back to Athens.

The Major and the Mogul: Hearst Castle

Monday, July 29th, 2013 | Art, Friends, Travel | 1 Comment

The Major and I took a little road trip down south earlier in the week, to visit San Simeon and Hearst Castle. William Randolph Hearst worked with architect Julia Morgan for 28 years, starting in 1919, designing an estate to showcase his vast collection of European decorative and fine art.

The castle is the only structure visible from the coast road, enshrouded in fog and ringed by tall palm trees that poke out conspicuously from the surrounding landscape of dried grasses and live oaks. Driving up the windy road, the castle is glimpsed every now and then, looming closer and closer into view. The landscape is beautifully untouched. A mile-long arbor runs alongside the road, once covered in grape vines and espaliered fruit trees and flowers. Inside the castle gates, the formal lushness of the gardens contrasts delightfully with the spare natural features of the encircling hills, peppered with clean white marble statues–original and reproductions–from Ancient Egypt to the early 20th century. “The statues are white because we don’t have air pollution down here,” our tour guide emphasized while looking over her sunglasses into the eyes of the scruffy Parisians standing next to me.

The grandeur of the architecture and the exquisite craftsmanship and clever integration of antique european ceilings and structural elements are overwhelming. There’s nothing modest here, except a complete absence of art or architecture of Hearst’s own time. It’s a Disneyesque museum of european architecture, decorated with artwork purchased at a time when Europe was recovering from a World War and selling off its shattered cultural heritage. A guide told me that Hearst saw himself as a protector of sorts of these objects that he feared would have been destroyed in the wars. Lord Elgin on a shopping spree.

On the drive down, the Major played the music of Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, the soundtracks of Glee and Smash, and several of those really loud screechy singers of the early 80s who paved the way for other even louder screechy singers like Whitney Houston and Jennifer Hudson. He gleefully accompanied every song. I intervened urgently at one point with some Nina Simone, but after two songs and fidgety silence from the Major, he blurted out, “Could we listen to something happy?”

The Major’s general insistence on being surrounded by happy-making stimuli is what makes him such a pleasure to be around, a walking Disneyland exhibit. After stuffing ourselves silly in Cayucos one night with fried things from the land and sea, and complaining about how uncomfortably full we were, the Major suddenly commanded “Let’s get dessert!” It wasn’t just any dessert, either, but an olallieberry (“ollieberry” as he endearingly calls it) cobbler about the size of a full pie, topped with a quart of whipped cream and a pint of ice cream. I was in awe at the gustatory prowess of my dear friend, the idea of the pleasure of dessert cutting off any signals from his stomach to cease and desist. Calories are to the Major what Renaissance Spanish ceilings were to Hearst. Our little vacation seemed guided by this dual lack of resistance. Once again, sensation reigned supreme!

Pretty Pictures

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 | Art | No Comments

Remember, “pretty” is my guiding mantra. Beautify, beautify, beautify. Here’s some of my new work, Cecille Brunner roses from my backyard. The images are big, 40″ x 60″, so strap on your imaginary thinking caps and imagine these hanging in some white cube somewhere while a pretty woman in stiletto heels, a tight dress and oversized glasses click clicks her way across the gallery floor and pleasantly says “Hello, these are the works of Chris Komater, he’s really hot in Europe. Unfortunately everything is sold, but I can put your name on a waiting list. He works really slowly, not because it actually takes him a long time to make anything, it’s just that the men in Europe are so distracting. Take special note of his metaphorical use of blurriness. The images look simple, elegantly simple, almost seductively so, but they’re about what we’re all afraid of. Death. Impermanence. These are not flowers, they’re pictures of flowers. Enjoy. Please let me know if I can answer any of your questions.”

Really Huge Pretty Things

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 | Art, Film, Stavros | No Comments

Well how do you like that. I just spoke with Stavros, and I’m the villain! A manipulative raconteur! Evidently, I caused tears to flow from those beautiful Grecian eyes by making assumptions (in my previous post) that were quite far from accurate. He loves me! I think. Or am I making another assumption? Oh wait, here comes my Chorus of Therapists… “Oy, Coco, what did we tell you about this style of communication? It’s not only manipulative, it’s indirect, passive aggressive! He’s talking to you, loud and clear, through his actions, what’s this dreck about needing words? Words, words, words… Learn to understand his language! Enough already!” Stavros also took issue, humorously as always, with my presenting him in my blog as a sort of indecisive rapscallion and me as the wronged romantic dream lover. Ironically, this is exactly what annoyed me about Bob’s last book of short stories, the Bob character an amusing composite of both of our good qualities, and the Chris character representing all of our less desirable characteristics. I’d like to declare narrative immunity, but alas, I must protect my Stavros’ reputation and admit my contribution to his semi-frequent bouts of relationship anxiety.

And speaking of anxiety, I just saw Farewell, My Queen, an incredible film set in Versailles, in the few days after the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The film is about interior and exterior anxiety, featuring an implied lesbonic bond between la Reine and la duchesse de Polignac. The story is told through the eyes of the Queen’s reader, a young woman completely devoted to her mistress while the other servants and aristocrats gossip and eventually change into their grungy Citizen outfits and hit the road.

I’m photographing again. A new project, of flowers. Real ones this time, not ones made out of fuzzy blurry body parts. I’ll not say anything else, as I don’t know the what else just yet, just that the promise of new life is beckoning me, and I’m having such fun shooting again and hanging out with the bees in my plum tree. These will be large prints, 30″ x 40,” and all very close up—from the bees’ perspective. It seems like most everything there is to say about flowers has been said already, so I’m not thinking about breaking new conceptual ground, just in making really huge pretty things.

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