We have a nasty patch of rubble in the back alley guarded by unsightly bent pipes that protect a gas meter. Every fall I throw a packet of wildflower seeds down, scratch them in, and wait to see what the rains will bring. It’s different every year. Nasturtiums and poppies duke it out neck and neck for starters (below). Quickly followed by the big guys: penstamom, coreopsis, feverfew, lupine and cosmos (above). read more…
We’ve just discovered photographer Maria’s Robledo’s crazy-beautiful Instagram, a trove of images that will make you SEE the everyday differently and put you right in the moment. Only Maria could have come up with this simple, curiously moving arrangements of pussy willow blossoms (which people usually just throw away once they’ve been knocked off their stem). The image shouts SPRING. It seems the perfect accompaniment to this 4-line gem of a poem by Su Tung-p’o written over a thousand years ago:
Pear blossoms pale white, willows deep green –
when willow fluff scatters, falling blossoms will fill the town.
Snowy boughs by the eastern palisade set me pondering –
in a lifetime how many springs do we see? read more…
(Video link here.) Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present is a stuning documentary portrait of artist Marina Abramovic. She explores themes we are always mulling: pushing one’s limits, the nature of will power AND being truly present in one’s life. Here we get to see them in action as Abramovic weaves them through her art and life.
The title of the film comes from her 2010 MOMA retrospecctive: whenever a visitor entered the museum, she was present. Six days a week, 7½ hours a day for 90 days, Abramovic sat without eating, drinking or moving from her position as a series of museum visitors lined up to sit opposite her, one by one, for often incredibly moving, wordless interactions. Six days a week, 7 1/2 hours a day being present…
It is extremely difficult to be like a mountain, to create stillness in the middle of hell. read more…
Maria Robledo sent us these words from Mother Theresa. They’ve been reverberating as we think of the people we know that really live them…wondering if we can find —improvise— ways to do that daily.
Related posts: sister corita kent’s enduring rules for making + her art
the collected wisdom of louis c.k.
‘proceed from gratitude’: personal lists and principles
chuck close’s ‘note to self’ (eight perfect rules for living)
steve jobs: one simple fact that can broaden your life
henry miller’s eleven commandments
WARNING: Adult content. If you’re not ready for it, save for later.
Related posts: louis c.k. on ‘putting the time in’
the collected wisdom of louis c.k.
louis c.k. car dances ‘who are you?’ + rants on boredom
‘everything is so amazing, but nobody is happy’
louis c.k on being broke (with su tung-p’o)
how ‘not giving a sh*t can really help you a lot
7 principles of comedy/design/creating anything
daily tonic: johnny cash, the carter family + louis c.k.x
I’ve been thinking a lot about birds lately, about the mystery of their migrations; their unerring return each spring.
Our Cooper’s hawk is back from the dry barrancas of Zapotecas, its familiar kek-kek-kek vying with argumentative crows and cooing mourning doves at dawn. Improvisatory arboreal architects are at work big time.
Humingbird hangs its timid sac of cat fur and melaleuca leaves on a spike of palm.
Crows strip fresh tar paper off a neighbor’s roof with giddy joy…Hawks cart heavier loads of urban detritus to the pines, creating castles of thatched twiggery.
There’s sex and magic in the air, a synesthesia of feathers and song. Guatemalan poet Humberto Ak’abal, lauded as a “Mayan Basho”, describes it in Poems I Brought Down from the Mountain
(Video link here.) Above, a trailer for Deceptive Practice, the new documentary about brilliant sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay. For a totaly entertaining read, check out this 1993 New Yorker profile of Jay by Mark Singer.
For those of us haunted by the instantaneous life changes that occurred to so many wounded in the Boston bombing, The Times’ heartening article about new technologies and therapies for amputees.
And a fund you can contribute to for those most affected by the bombing (prosthetics and rehab costs A LOT).
(Video link here.) One of our favorite films has long been My Dinner with Andre, which is, on the surface, a conversation between two friends during dinner in a French restaurant in New York City. Andre Gregory vividly describes his revelatory, new-ageish, risk-taking experiences in experimental theatre while his modest less-adventurous friend Wally Shawn listens and mulls. Finally, Wally questions the necessity of such extremes, extolling the small sweet moments in his everyday life, culminating in a legendary cup of cold coffee at about 1:20. We’ve always loved this 3-minute-long scene, finding that it has illuminated many small blessings in our own daily life, including morning coffee.
To our suprise, while watching interviews about the making of this unusual film, we discovered that Shawn’s purpose in writing the scene was very different than the message we had taken from it: read more…
We really love Flavorwire’s recent The Craziest Advice from Famous People which includes some wild stuff from cultural icons like Courteney Love, William Burroughs and Frank Zappa. We couldn’t help thinking that Jack Kerouac’s Belief & Technique for Modern Prose is a very curiously syncopated Beat poem full of jazzy wisdom about the creative process and living in general.
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow read more…
Last Fall, designer Susan Dworski, a reader and frequent commenter, happened to mention carving rubber stamps out of Staedler Mars erasers to make artworks. “How did you get into that? we asked. Her answer was stunning:
Been carving them since 1980 when our house burned down, and only my studio was saved. All four of us all lived in that one room for a while, and the only art I could make was something small, low tech, and cleanuppable: ink, paper, and stamps. After buying some commercial ones, carving erasers was a natural move, and proved effective therapy for the kids, who spent many hours stabbing away at erasers, and swabbing with colored markers, retelling their stories of the fire illustrated with the stamps. The neighborhood kids all got into the act, too. It was a lively time!
When your house burns down, make art!!!! An amazing point of view. read more…
Once again, our unlikely wiseman Louis C.K. nails it in a recent interview in the New York Times about his thriving success and upcoming HBO special:
Q-Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
Q-You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
Q-At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. read more…
We are smitten with Tables for One, reviews of imaginary restaurants, dreamed up by designer Evan Johnston using the nom de plume A. Pontius. We are charmed by Salé, where “salt is nowhere to be found in the food, nor can you find it in a the familiar little container on the dining table. That’s because the dining table, and plates, and chairs, are actually made of salt itself.”
…and especially love Acoustia:
“We don’t serve food,” the chef and sound designer for Acoustia explained to a passerby who was baffled by the specials for the evening, “We serve sounds.”
Going to the site spurs our own fantasies of wonderfully eccentric restaurants designed to feed other senses.
But we were especially touched to discover how Tables for One came about, read more…
When we first saw this sign, we though ‘Yeah, for sure’. Then we started thinking more critically about fear and realized it is not always a bad thing. We searched “antidote to fear” and found bits and pieces about love antidoting fear, and especially, being present antidoting fear. Then we stumbled on a rough draft of a speech called “The Mastery of Fear or Antidotes for Fear” by Martin Luther King Jr. in an archive at Stanford. Here’s an essential piece:
Fear is a powerfully creative force. read more…