the value of the unnecessary
plus a call to action to show and see some art on december 9th @ 2-5 pm!
I’m back! With the holiday last week and preparing to move back into our house now that renovations are complete (more on that later but check out the midway post here if you missed it), I decided to take a break for most of November. I planned to wait until next Wednesday to resume weekly updates, but I’ve been keeping a list and that list is getting long! So let’s get right to it.
As you may recall, I’m mostly vegan. Haven’t eaten turkey at Thanksgiving for 4 years now. We’ve donated to Audubon in the past, and got a cute little plush turkey for our donation, but this year we “adopted” Thelma, one of five “spokesturkeys” rescued from slaughter to live out the rest of their lives in peace, love, and compassion at Farm Sanctuary (Thelma is the only one at Farm Sanctuary’s Acton, California location). Not really sure how turkeys became a focal point of the holiday, but I like this tradition to offset some of the estimated 46 million turkeys slaughtered for US Thanksgiving alone (we ate at Millennium instead).
I haven’t seen Priscilla yet, but I loved this Fresh Air interview with writer/director Sofia Coppola (why yes I am a superfan). I had forgotten that Priscilla met Elvis when her family lived overseas, where Elvis was stationed. Coppola in the interview: “…it related to Priscilla being an Army brat, 'cause that's how I grew up, always going to be the new kid at school. So I could relate to that.” As a fellow military(ish) brat, I’ve often thought this is a big source of mostly untapped material. Such a crazy way to grow up compared to most of the folks I know now, many of whom live in the same zip code where they were raised (not better or worse, just different), and even my own children, who’ve lived in one house for most (the 15yo) if not all (the 10yo) of their lives.
This is from a speech that’s nearly 10 years old, so perhaps you’ve seen it but I had not: Jim Carrey on his father failing at what you don’t want originally from a commencement speech delivered to the Maharishi International University of Management class of 2014, circulating again more recently on social media. As an artist with a series of day jobs not always as well-aligned to my creative interests as I might like, I can relate.
Speaking of day jobs, my current gig has been remote since before the pandemic, and it was a game-changer for me (it was initially part-time as well, which was also ideal from a creative practice perspective), but this is also 100% true. I am exempt from the manager track, for example, unless I’m tied to an office where I work at least 3 days per week (that said, change has been brewing since I originally added this to the newsletter list during my brief hiatus).
French artist Laurentine Périlhou makes fancy macramé.
Anne Boyer’s resignation letter from the New York Times a few weeks ago was pretty incredible; read it here.
“Because our status quo is self-expression, sometimes all artists have left is to refuse. So I refuse.”
More recently, and perhaps offering up a more nuanced way of capturing some of the anxiety I feel as a creative person with the world around me seemingly perpetually on fire, C.S. Lewis’s words on friendship via Maria Popova’s Marginalian:
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
It’s really easy to highlight and champion the value in what we do as artists when basic needs are met. But what does it mean to be an artist when survival (whether personal, more abstract, existential, or another species altogether) is threatened?
With our home renovations complete, we’ve moved out of our rental with time to spare on a lease we cannot terminate early without paying crazy fees. So I’m having an art show! I’ll be showing in one room, while my friend, former colleague, podcast guest, and talented artist Lisa Jonas Taylor will be showing in another room. I have space for at least one more artist and would love to include other creative work as well, e.g. sound/music/DJ, dance/performance, food, etc. If you’re in the Bay Area and free to install sometime between now and next Saturday, December 9th (show will be a one-time thing at 2-5 pm that day), email me! Check my instagram for a video tour and some pics currently in my stories if you want to get a sense of the space before you reach out.
A little more on the relationship between living spaces and art galleries here. In my case, the living space will be much closer to the “white box” of the traditional gallery since it will be devoid of any furniture or food in the fridge (just snacks and drinks for the show itself).
It is indeed persimmageddon season (although, nothing will top the ~1000 persimmons our Fuyu tree yielded in 2020) so the timing of this is perfect, the famous ink drawing Six Persimmons on view for just a few weeks at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (I’m also eager to see the Takashi Murakami show!).
I don’t watch The Crown, but this article really hit me. My own mom died when my brother and I were 15 and 11, respectively, also the ages my own kids will soon be when my youngest turns 11 in February. December is both her birthday month and the month she died (she’d be 68 on December 11th, gone 35 years on the 28th). Grief is a real B, if you know what I mean.
Finally, again, please, if you’re local, come to my unofficial art show on Saturday, December 9th, 2-5 pm! It’ll be in the Laurel district in Oakland. Email me for the address. And if you’d like to show some work, perform some music or a dance piece, or make some food, reach out! I’d love to have you and your work in the space (if all goes well, we may do another show in January).