Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Last night, I went to a birthday party for an 89 year-old, known to relatives and others alike as grand-ma Fanny. She is a poised and elegant elder. She refused to tear the paper opening her presents, accustomed as she was to saving it. Grand-ma Fanny is one of the women my housemate used to care for and she lives with her grand-daughter, Keisha, who has become a friend of mine. The party brought together a lovely range of generations and races. Grandma Fanny is an African-american from Tennessee and so is Keisha. Keisha's husband, Allejandro, and his friends are from Mexico and they were out BBQing and speaking spanish in the back yard most of the time. Then there was Grand-ma Fanny's 80ish actor friend from L.A. I don't think anyone was from Texas. The conversation turned several times to how long it can take to take root in Austin. Keisha's lived here for ten years, but she didn't start feeling as if it was home until the 5th, she said, because of work-related travel. A gay, African-American fashion designer from Missouri, said even though its taken him a while, he keeps returning to Austin after attempts to live in L.A. and NYC. Liz, a blond, blue-eyed interior decorator from Savannah has only been here one year, said its also taking her a while to get settled. Its funny how some places feel home right away, just like certain people feel friend right away and you just know.
Earlier in the day yesterday, I was eating gelatos with a friend at central market listening to the live music and thinking, I really like Austin right now! In the sun, on a sunday, people seemed relaxed, enjoying the springtime. Even though, really, you bring your sense of feeling at home in a place with you wherever you go since its inside you, I think maybe more than anything besides that factor, its the people that give me the feeling of being at home in a place. Mindset and people.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
On Saturday, I saw more Texas Bienniel-related work at the Women and Their Work Gallery. Really, some very interesting pieces. I especially loved a painting that is half realistic: life-size dachshund and two life-size rats; and half abstract: textured, colored paint-brush strokes interwoven among realistic animals, smooth abstract color shapes reminiscent of Georgia O'Keefe mountains, or maybe fabric folds in the back ground. Another piece drew my attention too, actually two pieces together. The first: a child's drawing of a creature part elephant, part warthog, part bear, etc on 8.5 X 11 paper. Next to it, maybe 4 X 5 feet, was the adult artist's version: beautiful graphite lines, sketchy, the images of animal heads (warthog, eagle, bear, mountain lion etc.) connected/overlapping/forming a circle. The two pieces done about 20 years apart by the same person.
As I wandered around the gallery, I overheard a conversation between one of the gallery assistants and an elderly lady visitor who was telling some of her life story to the assistant. Catching phrases like: "I love this piece...Jungian quality...I used to be involved in the Jung Center in Houston...I'm sorry I couldn't come to this opening, but I'm recovering from a broken hip..." I should have asked her if she knows my grandmother, who was also involved in the Jungian Center in Houston. I bet they do know each other. Funny, on my last visit, Memere and I were talking about Jung and Memere let me read one of his books because he talks about time in New Mexico, which is of interest to the paper on New Mexico/Santa Fe religion I'm currently writing for my Geography class.
As I thought of this connection, another gallery assistant started talking to me, asking which pieces I liked. Turns out, she went to the Jill Pangello event on Friday too. She said she was laughing the whole time and she thought people were being quieter than usual...maybe because of the cold. So that was funny running into two new people and seeing common thread between lives.
On Friday evening, I enjoyed a multi-media performance by Jill Pangello and company. When I read in my email about the event, I noticed the connection to Mike Albo and I knew I should try to go. My professor, Peter Hall, recently recommended I look into Mike Albo's work, which I subsequently checked out on YouTube. Albo is a comedian who kind of strings random, ordinary fragments of thoughts together in hilarious, nonsensical ways, creating new meaning. This way of taking ordinary pieces of information out of context to form new meaning is a reoccurrence in some of my design work too.
Anyway I'd never heard of either Mike Albo or Jill Pangello until this month and the performance at Fiesta Gardens was hilarious. Mike Albo wrote two of the scripts for Pangello's acts. Even though the night was unexpectedly chilly and every seat was taken, it was good to smile and be around amused people for an hour. Oh, earlier that day too, Jacqueline told me she'd seen Pangallo at AMOA before and she is great, and she was. My favorite acts of Pangello's "Let Me Entertain You" set were:
1) One about facebook where she played a person trying to write her "25 Random things about Me" (that exercise that ran around facebook a month or so ago)
2) One about a cat which you just have to watch for yourself
3) The voicemail episode (written by Mike Albo) where a woman leaves this poor man a voice mail message that is a rambling, unedited streaming of her thoughts (as they can pop up as you're trying to go to sleep or something) from one to the next, silly, unimportant, self-absorbed.