At The Gallery: Day 1 THE PHOTOS!

The Exterior of the gallery space.

This is the food co-op that shares the performance space during the day. All this gets cleared up and packed away every night. They sell organic and locally grown produce and food related stuff. They had some great prices too!

At the end of the gallery is the stage for the concerts and performances that they do. That's the wall of the gallery with the mounts hanging, waiting for artwork!

The mounts being assembled. It's a very simple mount, just a stack of foam core with a matte board top. The sketches will get clipped into place with binder clips.

Eric and Jessica the curators hanging the mounts on the opposing wall.

The art begins to go up! It's exciting to see it all in place!

Jessica and I finish up the final wall. The whole hang was a small comedy of errors. Miscounting pieces, cutting pieces only to discover that we needed them back in to fill the space, etc. and because the show is hung in chronological order adding or subtracting a piece means that all 115 pieces of paper have to move down the line. >SIGH< It was a long night!

As of 11:30 p.m. all of the pieces are in the space. Tomorrow I retrieve the enlargements from the printers and then they'll get hung, and that's the show!

Meeting the various members of the organization today was interesting. Everyone I met was very young, 25 to 35 at most and a little on the "granola" side. There were lots of dreadlocks about and people wandering through the coffee shop with laptops. Certainly a far cry from the uptight mega-church that I had been imagining. It's quite a relief. During the hang tonight I was talking about who was coming and when I said "my boyfriend" none of them even glanced at me. My nerves about this part of it all at least are smaller.

Tomorrow I make the title cards, hang the blow-ups, arrange the tables for the opening, meet with the DJ about music... it'll be another long day probably!

At The Gallery: Day 1

I arrived in Houston last night, no problems at all. The family that is hosting the first part of my stay (I'll move to a hotel once the family, BF, etc. start arriving) picked me up at the airport and welcomed me. They have what amounts to a hotel room in their garage set up for guests. A double bed, private bath, TV, computer, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot... no Holiday Inn would have it beat! They are also gracious enough to allow me to borrow one of their cars for the week, which is awesome. Houston doesn't really have a public transport system to speak off, though I'm told that there is a light rail line that runs into downtown. One line. That's the whole thing. For a town this size that seems so odd to me.

this morning I went over to the Gallery for my first taste of the space. The gallery is owned by a church which has always had me worried a little. All I knew was that it was part of a complex, a bookstore, and coffee shop shared part of the space. In my mind I had pictures of a huge sprawling mega-church complex, the likes of which I know exist in Texas. In reality the church complex is a small area in the Montrose District which is one of the artsier areas of town (and apparently home of the annual Gay Pride parade!). Besides the gallery and the bookstore they also run a small farmers market full of organic vegetables. The gallery space is off the coffee shop and is essentially a large white room with a small stage at one end, and around the corner is the little market. (I think/hope that the market gets put away at night, but it isn't terribly intrusive.) The church (from looking at their website seems like a pretty liberal place.

Today I am spending most of the day at a copy center doing some scans and blow-ups of the images to help fill the space a bit. One of the smaller walls will be dominated by 5 2'x3' blow-ups of the some selected sketches. (I hope they hold up at that scale!) By doing the scanning and pre-press work myself I can cut the costs, and get the files turned around a lot faster so that we can get them hung and installed tomorrow.

I'll be posting some photos of the space, and of the process later today, but I thought you'd all enjoy some updates for now.

I'm Off!

In roughly a half an hour I will be headed out the door on the way to the airport to catch my flight to Houston. My nerves are really starting to ramp up. Putting the sketches in order last night and doing the final pricing and paperwork I really started to doubt the whole idea of this. These are sketches! Drawings! Doodles! Who wants to see these? Am I just going to be a laughing stock? I know from the comments here and at Flickr that you guys enjoy my sketches, but this is a whole new thing, you know? My nerves are waning somewhat, but I am still a bit worked up. I haven't felt like this in a while! Not since my first theatre shows maybe.


I'm breathing.

I'll keep you guys updated on the trip.

Subway Sketches Part CLIV

The final page in my third sketchbook, and the final image that will be included in the Houston gallery show!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be headed over to Kid Flash's shortly with a macaroni and cheese pie, deviled eggs, and a cornbread pudding in tow. He's busy making a pear pomegranate pie, and homemade yeast rolls. At 4 we'll be joining his friends for a holiday feast! I can't wait.

Hope all of you have a great holiday. I am very thankful to everyone who reads this little blog, supports my work, comments, emails, cajoles... I love you all.

Yankee Foods

I understand the concept of regional brands (hence the reason I have to have Duke's Mayonnaise shipped to me) but why is it that I simply CANNOT find certain foods north of the Mason Dixon? I've encountered this problem before... farmers who had no idea why I'd want to buy green tomatoes from their farm stand... no okra in the produce section... no self-rising corn meal... no pimento cheese... for some reason when I was living in Connecticut I couldn't locate walnuts packed in syrup, which is my favorite ice cream topping.

Today's quest? Dill pickle relish. There was sweet relish galore. Something called India Relish (which I assume is another form of sweet relish since the second ingredient was corn syrup) and Hot Dog Relish (some bizarre concoction of relish and mustard it seems). But after checking three stores no one has dill relish? Can some yankee explain to me why this might be?

Getting Ready part 2

In preparation for the gallery show I spent the evening removing the pages from my sketchbooks. My poor drawings look so naked and exposed without their covers. This is going to be an interesting show. The gallery sent me the layout for the walls today so I can now clearly see how the show will be put together and what it's all going to look like. I've had a lot of comments requesting that I post photos from the show. Not to worry, I'll keep you guys heavily updated!

Subway Sketches Part CLIII

I can't believe I've posted more than 160 of these subway drawings. I've been doing this for almost a year and a half and it's still one of my favorite pastimes. Just in time for the gallery show I will be finishing up this sketchbook sometime in the next two or three days. That would make 3 sketchbooks full of subway drawings! When I get back from Houston I'll be starting on my fourth. Whew!

Getting Ready

This time next week I'll be packing my bags and heading out to Houston for my gallery show. I have spent the last few days shopping for clothes. I am in a desperate search for JUST the right outfit. I have a few things to live up to here. I am a gay atheist New Yorker who is about to have a gallery show at a faith-based gallery in the heart of a red state. I have to look sharp. Sharp with a slight edge. About a week ago I fell in love with a vest at H&M and decided that I needed to base my outfit around that vest. For the next few days I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to track it down in my size. (Did you know that there are 8 H&M locations in Manhattan? Did you know that only 5 of them carry men's wear? Well you do now.) After nearly giving up I finally braved the 5th avenue Christmas crowds in order to check the last possible location. If you've never shopped 5th avenue at anywhere close to Christmas, let me just tell you that this was tantamount to taking my life into my own hands. Long Islanders and college age girls from New Jersey have no idea how to navigate NYC traffic and tons of them flock to this street at this time of year. Anyway... it worked. I found it! I have my vest, in my size, the base of my outfit is chosen. Now I just have to get the rest of what I want... I already decided that I wanted a solid blue tie, "A Train" blue if you care, and that I wanted to wear jeans and a white shirt. Finding a solid blue tie turns out to be harder than it sounds as well. Macy's, land of 10 million ties, didn't have one. Nor did three other stores that I checked. It took Express for Men (ugh.) to get me the tie. I'm dropping my tux jacket off at the cleaners tomorrow... so the outfit is settled I think.

The gallery has graciously provided me a place to stay, and my host has offered to allow me to borrow a car. I've made all my flight and hotel arrangements for the weekend. I've gathering about a dozen subway maps (for use as decor at the opening, and to probably hang around the gallery, would anyone in Houston know what the NYC subway looked like otherwise?) and I've begun removing the sketches from the books. I bought a corner rounder to clip the square edges of the pages so that they match the precut corners from the books. In some ways a lot to do, in some ways not much.

As it gets closer I'm getting more excited and more nervous as well. It's been a LONG time since I've done this. I get to spend the evening being charming and selling myself as much as my work, something that I've only really had to do in meetings and interviews for the past few years. I know that a lot of people look at my work here, but now they'll be looking at it, with an eye to buy it no less, with me right there in the room. Asking me direct questions about it, Looking at it, and critiquing it within earshot. Wow, just typing that makes me nervous. It makes me even happier to know that I'll have plenty of friends there. It seems I get a new email (or comment!) saying that someone will be at the show everyday.

Yeah. I'm nervous, but I can't wait.

Subway Sketches Part CLII

Ex-Files: Casefile 008

Catagory: Boyfriend, April 1995 to August 1995
Met: Cast party for "Twelfth Night," AASU
"L" Word: Yes
Age Differential: He-21, Me-23
Signifigance: First "disappearing boyfriend"
Nickname: Puppy
Reason for Break-up: Disappearance

History: Ex 008 and I met at a cast party for a show that BFE Michelle dragged me to. At that particular time 008 was not yet out and so it took a little work that night for me to figure out what was going on. The party was being held in the banquet room of the hotel where Michelle was working at the time. After a long evening of drinking and playing "I Never" (which is great for trying to figure out things about potential dates, by the way), the party broke up and Michelle and I stayed around to do some clean-up. 008 stayed behind as well and the flirting continued until nearly dawn. It was just a few days until 008 and I were dating, and I had seen "Twelfth Night" three more times. We dated for about four months, fairly uneventfully. He and I fell into an interesting routine because I was working third shift, and he was in class. He'd come to my apartment at the end of his day, usually 7 or 8 p.m. and wake me. We'd fool around, or go out briefly until I had to leave for work at 11. He'd usually sleep in my bed while I worked. At 7 a.m. I'd come home and wake him for his classes, we'd have breakfast together and then I'd go to bed. Our relationship was good, but quiet. Towards the end though circumstances stacked up and problems arose. 008 was on the verge of graduating, and unsure of what he was doing afterwards, I was in the middle of a big life shift myself, about to start art school, and moving in with Michelle for the first time. During all this 008 disappeared. For three weeks he stopped returning calls, and even ignored notes left on his car outside the rehearsals of his current show. This is a pattern that would return quite a bit in my life, several later boyfriends would pull similar disappearing acts. After three weeks of absence he showed up on my doorstep teary eyed and apologetic but in the end we decided that the relationship wasn't worth saving. It was one of the most amicable breakups I've ever had.

Current Status:Unknown. After graduation he had decided to attend grad school at the University of Arizona. Google doesn't turn up anything relevant, nor does Friendster or MySpace.


A Moment Missed

For a few seconds he was perfect, lying on the ground in the middle of Central Park. Sky blue eyes set off by a dark blue sweatshirt, the whole thing contrasted by the red-brown leather color of the oak leaves under his head. There was a tiny touch of golden yellow at his throat, provided by a t-shirt, and just enough haze in the air to soften everything.

I would have killed for my camera, he was so beautiful at that moment. I can't wait for the next moment like that, (and the one after, and the one after...).

Subway Sketches Part CLI

Subway Sketches Part CL

November 12 of 12

It's been a couple months since I participated in Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 Project. I almost didn't get in today since I hadn't paid attention to the calendar. I stayed over at Kid Flash's apartment last night so without my camera with me I missed the opportunity for taking shots of the great pancakes we made (In the mood for pancakes? I recommend this recipe. YUM!), my emergency run out for syrup and coffee, and maybe a few other shots. Once I got home and realized the date I broke out the camera and got started, but I felt behind the curve all day, and worried that I wouldn't get 12 shots.

Technically this shot has nothing to with today, but like I said I was feeling behind the curve. I found both of these things on the street this week. In case you can't tell that is a rather large bolt of burlap, and a cluster of 6' tall white willow reeds. Both were very serendipitous finds, and both will end up onstage in the next set that I'm doing. That burlap, by the way, was one of 6(!) bolts that size that were on a street corner just a few blocks from me. What does an urban dweller need with that much burlap? And why would they throw that much away?

The first order of business today was to head out to the theatre where I designed my last set and to help strike it. (Tear it down.) So I packed my drill and headed out. Of course it was pouring rain.

The subway station was totally empty, which for 2pm on a Sunday is sort of odd.

Strike in progress, that's Libby and Katherine up front disassembling the giant refrigerator that dominated the set.

At strike we were treated to these munchies: bagels with soy cream cheese, whole wheat pretzels, veggies with cheese sauce and italian dressing and fresh fruit. These were left overs from a kid's birthday party that the theatre had hosted following the last performance of the show. This kid was 5 years old. His parents served SOY CREAM CHEESE at his birthday, there was nary a cake or cookie to be seen. Where the hell am I living?!?

The party also had some balloons left over, so I swiped a couple to take to Kid Flash. Yesterday walking in Central Park he had remarked several times how jealous he was of the little kids with balloons. (How romantic am I?)

My dinner, grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Kid Flash has even scarier murals in his apartment building than I do. Seriously, what landlord thinks these things add value to their buildings or enjoyment to their tenants lives?

The first ever photograph that features both Kid Flash and I.

Buying the airline tickets to Houston for my gallery show at the end of the month. Kid Flash is meeting me there later in the week so we were buying tickets for him as well. That means that BFE Michelle, Kid Flash, my mom, one of my friends from art school, and possibly Mark are all flying in for the opening. I feel very loved.

The balloons were a big hit with the cat (Kid Flash too).

Bed time... for the first time I am having an allergic reaction to the cat, good thing I packed some Benadryl in my bag just in case this happened.

Coincidental Cats

Further proof that the rules of probability don't work near me: It was coincidence enough that my boyfriend Kid Flash's real name is the same as Michelle's cat's name, down to a particular spelling quark. But as of this weekend he is cat-sitting for a friend of his who is on tour for the next few months, the cat's name? The same as Michelle's girlfriend.

I'm Sorry, WHO?!

Seriously... Uncle Ben's "REAL" killer?

I don't mind the continuity problems. I don't. After all your Peter has organic web-shooters, this isn't the universe I grew up with, clearly. My problem is... isn't this information better saved to be revealed in the movie? Shouldn't I, as an audience member, be surprised by this information?

But then.... Sandman. Marrying MJ. Harry as Green Goblin (presumably). Gwen Stacy. Venom. Eddie Brock. And now the hunt for Ben's killer. I guess revealing some secrets before I even get to the theatre would help streamline my viewing a bit. All this is just a bit much for one movie, isn't it? Did you guys not learn from X-3? My hope for this franchise is quickly fading.

Christmas Wishes

Who hasn't gotten me a Christmas gift yet? Well.. there's this one... or this one... or in an aboslute pinch there's this one but you all know which ones I really want right?

Subway Sketches Part CXLIX

Subway Sketches Part CXLVIII

Subway Sketches Part CXLVII

The Happiest Place On Earth

The last time I partook of the particular magic that makes up a Disney theme park was 2004 while I was in Long Beach, CA for a theatre convention. Before that it had been sometime circa 1992 or 93 in Orlando. So I was very excited while in Florida to spend a day at Disney World and a day at Dinsey's Animal Kingdom, which I had never seen before.

It was an incredibly good time to visit the parks. We chose Wednesday to visit Disney, and Thursday for Animal Kingdom. Both days were slightly overcast, but still warm. Whether it was by virtue of being there in November or being there on a weekday I'm not sure, but the parks were utterly empty. We arrived at Disney very shortly after 9 and started riding immediately. We never encountered a line, and were able to walk in and straight onto rides at nearly every choice. In rapid succession we had made it all the way around the loop of the park and back to the front gates. We had ridden just about every single ride in the park and it was 11:30. So we decided to do what any normal person would do and do it all again. By the evening we had had an incredibly thorough Disney experience and had not waited in a line longer than 10 minutes.

Disney World has been open since 1971 (Disneyland opened in 1955) and there have been lots of changes to the various rides over the years, some for the better, some for the worse. For instance a lot has been made by various critics about the changes to "Pirates of the Caribbean" to make it more compatible with the movies. Davy Jones has been added to the beginning and Jack Sparrow has been added to several places in the course of the ride. Most of these are unobtrusive and don't really effect the ride. I will complain a bit that the animatronics on Jack are SO much better than the original animatronics that the originals suffer by comparison. They are much less alive looking when they stand so close to the new machines. I also grieve a little bit for the loss of the first section of the ride, the New Orleans bayou, that has now been replaced by the Davy Jones hologram and some of the haunted figures that used to be at the end of the ride have been moved up to the opening area. For riders the New Orleans area of the ride may have been slow, but one of the coolest parts of the ride was that there was an adjoining restaurant that had seating inside that area of the ride. Diners appeared to be having dinner of the veranda of a plantation in the bayou as the boats for the ride slipped past. That no longer exists unfortunately.

Some of the other attractions have also lost a little of their charm in the revisions. The worst offender of the lot was the "Enchanted Tiki Room" which used to be a charmingly cute show of animatronic birds and tiki gods but is now a brash mess starring Iago from Aladdin. Who at Disney was silly enough to think that ANYTHING had ever been improved by adding Gilbert Gottfried to it?

I'll admit from the standpoint of a designer Disney does a simply amazing job of creating sets and environments that establish an experience. They are capable of creating what seem to be perfect replicas of places, both real and fictional, even using such materials as concrete and cast resin that are resistant to wear and tear, but are dressed colored and painted to be almost any other material. I spent an inordinate amount of time during this most recent visit just looking at the walls and plants and walkways trying to discern how they were created or what I could take away to use on one of my own sets at some point.

Thursday's visit to Animal Kingdom was a bit more crowded and actually had to take advantage of the "Fast Pass" system of reserved seating on rides a few times, most namely on "Expedition Everest" the newest ride in the park centering around a doomed expedition that runs into the Yeti. I LOVED this ride! We went out of our way to ride it several times, and it was the last ride we hit before we left the parks for good. Though I'm not sure why a park that is centered around animal conservation and the discovery of species by children has a ride about a mythological beastie, it definitely was worth seeing. Since it is one of only three or four ride type attractions in the park it will certainly draw a lot of attention.

Animal Kingdom had tons of great atmospherics. The replicas of African and Asian towns around their respective areas were superb, especially Africa. This is a beautifully put together park.

With Michelle living in Orlando now I'll probably be headed back down there at several future points. She's not overly keen on visiting the parks, but hopefully I'll get the chance to visit some of the others again soon. I haven't visited EPCOT or MGM since that trip in the 90's and I'd love to see some of the changes that have occurred there.