We’ve been listening to Homeland, Laurie Anderson‘s great-to-work-to album. The track “Only an Expert” (short version below) reminded us of one of our favorite videos, Jerry-Rigging, reprised from an early, experimental, now-defunct section of ‘the improvised life’. read more…
We woke up this morning, after yesterday’s very sad news, to discover the spectacular photos on The Big Picture of the wild, imaginative pre-Lenten celebrations that have been going on around the world, from Mardi Gras in New Orleans to Carnival in Brazil, Bolivia, Tenerife, Santa Domingo, Haiti, Venice, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland. There was even one last weekend in the tiny settlement of Helvetia, West Virginia a few days before our friend Eleanor Mailloux passed away. We can hear Eleanor’s voice in our heads telling us to join the celebrations, make stuff, LIVE! read more…
Our dear friend and heroine Eleanor Mailloux passed away peacefully this morning. Just a year ago we posted a film of her in full regalia (above) for the wild Fasnacht Festival in her tiny Appalachian settlement of Helvetia where folks dress up in homemade masks to scare away Old Man Winter (this year’s took place last Saturday). She was angry that we had included her age in the post. “It doesn’t matter what my age is. It just matters who I am.”
Who she was was a fiercely creative and original person. She had traveled the world but her great love and work was helping the tiny, unique village of her childhood thrive, preserving its Swiss culture and running the Helvetia’s only restaurant and inn. Over the thirty-plus years that we knew her, when times would be really tough she would say simply, “It’s all right. It’ll be all right.“ Somehow, it always was.
Her next project was to be a Museum to preserve the wonderful masks people made for Fasnacht. She wrote us this letter, full of her off-the-cuff wisdom:
I’m fevered with dreams for the Mask Museum. I wonder why.
I had a dear old Chinese friend on Guam. His name was Charlie Corn. One day I asked Charlie: “Charlie, why do you keep building on to your pavilion?” His answer was: “When I’m building, I’m growing and when I’m growing I’m alive.”
We’re going to take some time off to remember her.
This Saturday afternoon in New York City, The Calder Foundation is sponsoring a twelve-hour one-day event that presents a continuous series of artist film screenings, performances and music. It takes its name from Alexander Calder’s response to Work in Progress, his 1968 theatrical production, Maybe I should have called it ‘My Life in Nineteen Minutes’. An extraordinary group of artists will be showing work, Calder, Yves Klein, Eva Luna, and William Wegman to name only a few. Holton Rower, whose wondrous Pour Painting we posted about last week (the video went seriously viral) will be doing a “live pour”, guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience (we know, we once watched him make one).
“….Influenced by Calder’s investigations into improvisational performance, appropriated materials and continual change through the development of his iconic ‘mobiles,’ Maybe I should have called it ‘My Life in Nineteen Minutes’ will traverse history by reading it through the present moment, zigzagging through different scenarios via the slippage of time and space. It will engage an active audience through different media and temporalities via numerous set-changes, playfully interrogating life’s intermissions.
…Inspired by the long history of improvised DIY art performances as cultural strategy read more…
At Reference Library, we read about a unique service designed to change your life. New Daily Dance is “a service that choreographs personalized, contemporary rituals and happenings that bridge the gap between where you are now and your most desired future.” Their theory is that the secret to your most desirable future is hidden in your daily routines – that the way we move affects the direction of our lives. Daily Dance will create a routine/ritual that aids in shifting your life toward where you want it to go, an idea we find incredibly intriguing. Here’s an example:
“A recent client asked for a New Ritual to relieve some of the anxiety of her daily urban commute… For the mornings, we choreographed the “zip up dance” based on zipping in good feelings from her home environment, and provided a sachet for her to gather fresh herbs from her garden to take into the subway for holding and smelling. For the evening, we choreographed a happening where a masseuse met her at a specified place and time on the subway platform where she then received a hand, arm, shoulder, and neck massage while waiting for her train. She reported a great sense of emotional and physical relief in her daily commute, now having both the ongoing sachet collection morning ritual to take into the train, plus a reason to smile on the subway platform in the evenings with the massage memory. Both activities added to the memory of the space.”
We found the photo above on New Daily Dance’s website, under the header CONSUME TIME INSTEAD OF SPENDING IT,an idea that stopped us in our tracks. read more…
This week’s TimeOut New York features “The Most Stylish New Yorkers”, a study in sartorial imagination and possibility. We were happy to see our old friend Fritz Karch, Director of Collecting at Martha Stewart Living, wonderfully dressed head to toe in plaids. And we loved Lori Goldstein, stylist and designer for Logo Instant Chic,’s wise view of what fashion really is:
“Clothes and accessories are the paint, and you are the canvas. Experiment and play.”
“My hat serves as crown, battle cap, halo or horns, and most important, protector of my psyche.”
O-h-h-hhh. That’s what a hat can be!
When we were scouts long ago, there was nothing so satisfying as getting a merit badge. Now Disorderly Goods has designed a series that would make a lovely gift for child or adult. We’re thinking one or two would make an especially charming Valentine. Buy one for $10, a few, or all with the Over-achiever 12-pack for $114.00. They’re available at Supermarket.
Here are some favorites:
The Sprout: for growing from adversity
The Dipper: for dreaming big
The Heart: for giving a shit
The Illusionist: for being good with your hands
Zen Stones: for living a life of balance
Happiness Serotonin: serotonin molecule, for finding happiness.
We think they’d also make good Reminder Badges, of things about ourselves that we need to remember, but sometimes forget.
This is how we feel when our minds make some big creative connection…(maybe without the music…)
via Design Observer
This stunning video is well worth the riveting 9 minutes it takes to watch it, even (or especially) in the midst of a busy day. Part of Sundance’s short film program, it is a moving, beautifully filmed documentary about Skateistan, Afghanistan’s first co-educational skateboarding school, created by Oliver Percovich to help kids dealing with a life of war, poverty and destruction, “to build kids’ confidence…and give them a voice.”
Says Fazilla, a 12-year-old girl living in Kabul:
I work in the street and sell chewing gum. Life is hard for me personally because my family is poor, sometimes we can’t afford enough eat. At Skateistan, I dont feel that my surroundings are ruined, I feel as though I’m in a nice place.
Skateboarding totally changes the view. Such a simple brilliant idea.
This piece in the New York Times tells the story.
“Dr. King’s Friends Console Each Other”, taken by Henry Groskinsky in the hours after King’s murder in Memphis in 1968.
Here is Dr. King’s remarkable biography, much of which we did not know.
Shift two letters of ‘worrier’ (and your thinking, slightly) and you become…
I confess that a couple of times I’ve followed hipster guys wearing precariously sagging pants down the street just to see how they handled the balancing act, as the pants began to inch down past mid-crack. Sometimes their gait would turn cowboy-ish, as they bowed their legs trying to keep the pants at the perfect level. It amazed me how long these guys could go without hiking their pants up, which seemed to be some sort of personal challenge. They could go for blocks, walking the line between cool and the embarrassment of pants around ankles. “How does this work?” I’d ask myself, and wonder if they weren’t wearing some kind of secret suspender. What an amazing fashion statement!
I read in Fashion Bomb Daily that “Sagging, which originated in US prisons due to oversized uniforms and the banning of belts to prevent suicide and other violent acts, somehow parlayed itself into mainstream attire.” Pretty complex stuff going on here.