Sunday, September 28, 2008

Boys on Building

I just watched the wonderful story of Man on Wire. I was floored by the sense of inspiration that moved Phillippe Petit to step well beyond boundaries in order to accomplish something incredibly special and singular, and ultimately for the force of good.

It made me think of my friend Sam Fleischner...he's someone that I associate with a more elastic sense of law when it comes to his pursuits.   He once told me that when he was a baby, his dad snuck through a construction site, with lil sam all bjorned up on his chest, in order to climb a gigantic crane that stood towering over the Providence River in Rhode Island just because he wanted to share that experience with his child.  Well, I think it's safe to say that helped shape sam into a feisty and thoughtful art explorer.  It's a quality that we share in different shades and when we get to hang we like to bring each other along on different adventures (Sam was the friend who came out west to help frank and I film our TreeVD, climbing all together into different trees to record songs across the bay).

When I was most recently in NY, sam brought me along for a ripe one...He wanted to explore the Grain Terminal in Red Hook, whose giant silos have been abandoned for over 4 decades.  This required a good deal of boundary-elasticity with respect to the 17 foot concrete wall that surrounded it.... here's some of sam's photos of our tour

these photos were all taken leading up to the moment when we were at the very top of the roof and looked down to see two NYPD cars rolling up to the site.  this certainly did not bode well for our nerves, and we had to make some snappy decisions.  the overriding feeling was that we knew we shouldn't be there, but we also knew that we were acting on ultimately curious and harmless impulses, so nothing tooo terrible would happen.  but i was still pretty scared (unlike sam, the laws I tend to bend are pretty, should I go to that part of the forest that says area closed?).   Anway, there were two stair case that climbed up either side of the building and we started down one, hoping that perhaps we could make it out and away without a police run in.  the stairs were grated so you could see down through the dozens of flights.  the  whole time we padded down the steps I had my eagle eyes peeled for any sign of movement or color.  we made it to the bottom floor which had no wall and a huge hole in the floor with a 10 foot drop down to rubble and the rocks bordering the nearby water channel.  we peered around the piece of wall that was still there and saw two policemen with a foreman stationed at the bottom of the other staircase, while other police were beginning to head up into the building.  As we were facing the hard facts and trying to decide whether to hide out or to run, we looked across to the factory on the other side of the channel and saw an Hasidic jewish man having a cigarette, seeming to be watching this whole situation.  We couldn't tell if he had seen us or not but as we hid sam thought he saw him point at us.  Sam started to wave slowly at him and give him the thumbs up or thumbs down sign, I guess to see if he was with us or against us.  He was against us.  The next thing I know Sam drops down through the hole in the floor, and I follow as I look up to see our Hasidic friend pointing and gesturing wildly towards us. Betrayed!  We sprinted for the 17 foot concrete wall surrounding the lot (you can see it in the last picture above) and sam gives me a boost up, tosses me his bag, somehow gets up by himself (17 feet of adrenaline), and we drop down to the neighboring soccer field, take off our shirts and proceed as "joggers" over to the ice cream truck parked by the field.  We got two soft serves, and then realized that there was a community pool across the street so we went in and went swimming in our underpants while our stomachs returned to their proper place.

I know this is story is not a good thing, and I'm not trying to condone or encourage any recklessness (sorry if you're reading this parents)- it most certainly would have been awful to have gotten arrested-but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy exploring that building.  I'm not sure what the lesson is...when do you dance the reckless-dance and when do you bow out?  I guess the question is, do you stand behind what are you being reckless for?  Phillippe Petit certainly did.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two Bee No Body

these bees are heading on a plane to New York...enjoy your new home liluns.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Festival Spectacle and Story

On saturday I dropped by the treasure island music festival in which my little growing box lived for the weekend. It's tough to say how people dug's hard for art shows at big music festivals to not feel like an afterthought. Betty did a good job of curating a substantive show, and I enjoyed the vibe at the art tent...Triple Base had some making stations going on and I had a nice conversation with Kyle Mock that coalesced in him drawing me a picture to emblemize the feeling I'm focus on right now. I enjoyed that. But when I walked up to the area where my trunk was, these two young new-hipster girls were sitting on top of my trunk and kind of caving it in, so that certainly set the tone. I had thought of staying to see Justice at night, but the cold sea breeze made a bowl of soup seem like the right course to steer. And anyway, forfeiting a chance to see those dudes for free was no big deal, having recently gone to see them for free in New York last March.... last march I had planned a trip back to the east coast to see my family, and when Luke of Lucky Dragons performed at Frank and my art show, he mentioned that he was going to be doing this big installation and performance in NY in March as part of the Whitney Biennial. I do love lucky dragons, and made sure to give myself a day and a night and part of a day in NY to meet up with some friends and see what luke was cooking up.

My mom dropped me at the bus station to catch my ride to NY, and as I was saying goodbye to her and buying my ticket, I realized that my Drivers License was missing. Not wanting to worry my likely-to-worry mother, I told her it'd be fine and I'd figure it out, and get back on my plane back to California somehow. So I had a whole bus ride to simmer in my nerves about this stupid situation. When I got off the bus, I waited for my friend Jamie to meet me in this little park and I listened to all the messages my mom had left me while I had my phone off on the bus as per bus courtesy standards. Besides getting on the plane without ID, another problem was that I had neglected to get a CA license for the first 3 years of living in CA, so my ID was still from MA. This means I was not a licensed driver according to CA and I'd have to provide a copy of my birth certificate and Passport or social security card and take a drivers test again. TOTAL bummer. My mom had already been on the tele with the DMVs in CA and MA about my shituation, and was on the phone with someone from JetBlue when she called me again in the park. She had the jetblue person on one phone and me on the other (so much for trying to keep my mom from worrying), and she was trying to sort this out. She was suggesting that I come back on the next bus, go to the MA DMV, get a new license and change my ticket to a boston flight. Well that sounded like anus to me, so we decided to keep my flight, and she'd FEdex my most important documents of all, that you never want to trust to the mail, (birth certificate and social security card) to my friend Jamie's house, arriving tomorrow morning. HOWever, she still had the Jetblue person on the phone, who, while we were thinking of changing my ticket, mentioned that she didn't see my flight anywhere. I used my friend Jamie's phone internet to pass on my conf # only to have the jetblue lady tell my mom, who told me, that I did not have a flight for March 24, but I did have one for April 24. Now, as my 5th grade students would say, this became a re-stupid situation, and I had to change my ticket which ended up costing an extra $300! soo bad!

Anway, after sorting through the muck of that mess (which was actually made totally lighter, if not hilarious, by my friend Jamie's participation and positive presence) Jamie took me for a nice long walk to cool down and get a hot dog.

Here's a photo of Jamie hanging from a tree when he visited last February...he's the friend that frank just moved in with in Brooklyn:

We walked to Union square and met our friend Jonah, and walked all the way up to the
Park Ave Armory where the Lucky Dragons show was (about 60 blocks through Manhattan, all the while still carrying my luggage). A nice crew of friends came and it was a joy to share that performance and piece of the west coast with them.

While eating pizza, our friend Kellen mentioned that through some work connection with the Tribeca Film Festival, he was on the list to see Justice at Madison Square Gardens and could probably get us all in. So we went (me still carrying my luggage) and we danced in the way way way back for a bit. It was an absurd day, and I felt no need to try and mess with that as my only Justice concert experience.

(on a side note, my most important documents arrived and I got on my plane, though I didn't end of needing them because I realized after that I still had my first ever, expired license, with a picture of me as a 16 year old, and that was good enough for both Jetblue and the CA DMV. I did not even have to take another road test, though I was getting kind of excited to, and I now have a CA license...which incidently has an interesting misprint, check it out, and don't steal my identity).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

growing chamber

I just made a growing chamber. It's a trunk that I covered in moss and lichen that I collected while up at the residency outside Nevada City. It's just big enough for a person to crawl inside and close the lid. Betty Nguyen from First Person magazine curated an art show for the Treasure Island Music Festival, happening today and tomorrow, so I made this as a place that someone at a gigantic concert might maybe have a moment. I'm going to head over there later to see how things are going (and see le Justice), it ought to be odd.

here's how a growing chamber grows!

it was a bizarro treat to wander through the empty festival space. lot's of flags and beer tents.

birthday bros

yesterday father howard wilson and friend martin salata shared a birthday day. the same thing happened last year. and every year before for the last 26 years, then it was just howie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cape Cool: in objects

I'd like to share my experience out on cape cod in 3 Dimensions: in the photographs and impressions of light I caught, in the drawings that I made sitting in the sand, and in the objects that I found and brought back to house in my collection as pieces of that place.

the story is perhaps most clearly layed out if you start below with the pictures and make your way north to this here specimen exposé.