Monday, December 01, 2008

commute as art

I blogged for Filmmaker Magazine about the dazzling animation in the tunnel after the B/Q DeKalb stop here in Brooklyn. Masstransiscope (1980) is by my former Hampshire film professor Bill Brand, restored after 20 years of negligence. Actually, I'd been riding past it nearly daily since I moved here, but they only turned the lights on the show a few months ago. The short article is mostly factual, and upon reflection, I feel like I've neglected to mention how nice it is to have art on your commute. It's easy enough to miss with your head in a book, your headphones on and spacing out into your own world, but once you notice that there's something to capture your attention out there in that dark tunnel, it's hard to ignore it when you go past. Your fellow commuters wonder what you're craning your neck at, and most feign disinterest when they see it too. But many, like these folks, get caught up in the joy of having something unexpected like this in the otherwise bland subway. Art in public places can be tricky. it can be ugly or creepy, and people can disagree about whether it's art or not (I'm looking at you, graffiti). I think this one falls into the category of art to enhance ones surroundings.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the whole weekend is in front of me...

...I've got somewhat of a to do list, including boring chores like laundry, but im excited about not having many real obligations (except 2 co-op shifts so we don't get suspended). dreaming of all kinds of kitcheny crafty plans like baking bread and making and canning apple butter - not sure where this idea came from but it's either that or pickles and it could possibly take all weekend. with D. planning to brew beer any moment now, it could get a little crowded in there. do we even have a pantry in which to store this business?

these homebrews seem kind of un-New York to me, especially since it possibly means not going out Saturday night? Then again, someone here was just telling me about the glory days of Brooklyn when every Italian had their own vines and made their own wine. the latest from Chateau Gowanus for you?

if you want to come help stir the apple butter, please do. bring bread and wine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

debate night seitan shepherd's pie

Dave's got a cold, it's turning fall, the election is coming and we need comfort food. some veggie spot in park slope had seitan shepherd's pie on the menu, so i thought i'd give it a shot. here's my lazy version. serves 2-4

Preheat oven to 400F

scrub and put on to boil about ~1 lb yukon gold potatoes with some salt- the potatoes at the co-op are very small & organic so they didn't need to be cut or peeled, but if yours are bigger you should cut them into medium sized cubes. boil until very fork tender and drain.

meanwhile, dump 1 12oz tub of Ray's Seitan 'Wheat Meat' into a square baking dish. If you don't have Ray's, any seitan will do, but this brand has the added benefit of some kind of fatty gravy like substance included, whch adds some extra juice and flavor to the mix. if you don't have this in your seitan, you might prefer to add some oil, catsup, or some other liquid (gravy?) to keep the seitan from drying out.

chop 1 onion & some garlic and add it to seitan. dress the seitan mixture with about 3Tbs chipotle tabasco, hearty shakes of basil, cumin and pwdrd ginger, pepper, and a dash of salt. stir to combine all ingredients.

add 1 cup frozen corn to the baking dish, patting it onto the top.

cover the dish with foil, and put in the oven to bake while the potatoes are boiling. bake until everything is hot and the onions are cooked - 20-30 minutes.

when the potatoes are very fork tender, drain and mash with as much butter (~1/2 stick) and (soy)milk (~1/2 cup) as you prefer, salt, pepper, whatever else to your taste.

when the seitan is ready - the juices are bubbling, the onions are tender and everything is looking & smelling good, take it out of the oven.

Turn the heat down to 350F.

Pour the mashed potatoes onto the seitan and press into the top evenly. put back in the oven for 10-15 min or so, until they are a little crispy and brownish, perhaps the juice from the seitan is bubbling up into the potatoes. eat and enjoy!

at mom's house shephard's pie is always served with catsup. dave thought gravy might be yummy but we were too lazy to make some (even from a mix). another recipe i have calls for putting cheese in the mashed potatoes which i always love (smoked gouda perhaps?). this can easily be made deliciously vegan if you so desire, using margarine and soymilk in the mashed potatoes. how do you make it?

Monday, October 06, 2008

recent photos in my life

from: Maya - 'this guy is having the best day ever'to: Lauren - 'your 'Lil Guy' is up at my desk. your new semi-permanent installation in New York.'
From: Dave - 'i bought us a delicious monster'
from La Chapelle's new show. think i might have seen the model nic-fitting like a motherfck in front of the gallery.
to: family - 'hello from coney island!'
from: Lauren - 'happy labor day' / to: lauren - 'who's the new boyfriend?'
from: Lauren - 'i dreamed we made a movie again and filmed it in front of this store with the octopi'

Monday, August 25, 2008

que es Cranberry Beans?

we'd been lurking the cranberry beans among the lush local produce at the co-op. what is it? is it good? do we like it? so, in the cart they go. ours are fresh, not dried, and after research (internets), a consultation thru a gardeny friend, we ended up with this, done our own way:
Cranberry Beans a la Slow-Paced Monday Dinner (with pesto or other things)
(about 2 servings+tomorrow's lunch,)

1 pound in-shell cranberry beans: shell and rise them, discarding any small, blackish or funny looking beans

in a big pot, bring to a boil about 4 cups water with a half-onion, a bay leaf, garlic, oregano from mom's yard, rosemary from a failed housewarming plant, ground pepper.

Add cranberry beans and cover partially, turn heat down to a simmer, for about 25-40 minutes (ours took more like 40, but we started tasting for firmness at 25). Stir regularly. The good thing about beans is that they just sit and simmer, so you can do other things like watch TV

when you're getting impatient and the beans are almost done, that is, they are soft, the skins aren't too chewy and hopefully they're acquiring a good flavor, approximately the last 5 minutes of cooking, add a splash of hot sauce and about a 1/2 tbs kosher salt. Don't add salt earlier, it makes the beans tough

scoop out the beans with a slotted spoon, and put in serving dish. dress with olive oil, lots of pepper and about 1tbs kosher salt, a heaping spoon full of pesto (homemade with walnuts, leftover from the the night before) and a splash of red wine vinegar, to taste.

We served with a fried egg, summer tomato (for me) and cheese toast.

now, there's probably about 100000 ways you could do this differently. it's inspired by this completely different recipe, but gardeny phil also suggested you dress the beans with (instead of pesto/red wine vinegar) shallots and balsamic. j-a-a would probably put fennel seed and tomatoes in; i'm down with that, and dave def would've added butter. parmasean on top of everything would be nice. jen might've served it with the gifted produce of her fellow gardeners. or maybe nuts?
how do you end up with it?

Friday, June 13, 2008

its early. im rambling.

oopf. it's been a while.
im secretly blogging from the ifp narrative lab. it's the last day and the inspiring Lance Weiler is talking about how to distribute and market films on your own. if you want his secrets you'll have to wait for his book, read his website or see him speak.

i'm trying to get my writing brain back on after months of not blogging and mostly just watching films, 40-50 each for the narrative and documentary labs, early into the 250+? i need to watch for the spotlight on documentaries program.

mom's in NY this weekend and thinking about guerilla art shows, affordable art fairs, walking, talking shopping and eating, family dinner w/ her and friends. glad that the elevator in my building is running again, and grateful that d. got us a deal on an a/c yesterday. we're on the far side of a heat wave but i'm sure it's not the last time.

heading to silverdocs next weekend to blog for filmmaker mag. and to enjoy it as a civillian for the first time ever. looking forward to seeing lab alum Wild Combination, a doc about art collectors Herb and Dorothy, the new Herzog film and the shorts programs - will they be as quirky as when i was there? excited to see my friends in DC that weekend and hopefully have a great beer at granville moores. is sticky rice on h st open yet? will it ever open?

i've done a lot of name dropping here, so hi to everone that has a google alert for these things...

Friday, March 21, 2008


it's my birthday, and so far, i'm spending it waiting in our new nearly empty apartment for a mattress delivery. there's not many places i'd rather be right now, spending my first real day in this place; i just wish i had a few more ameneties.

the place still feels spacious, and im happy to be borrowing wifi from my neighbors. i do have electricity, but no gas (for the stove) and wont till at least monday. the heat is ample and makes lots of noise. the fridge, like that in Mott's, ticks and the bathroom is entirely covered in soap scum. i see i have some scrubbing to do. there are lots of neighbor noises, but im guessing that'll subside when we've got some furniture in here.

Today also happens to be the vernal equinox, the full moon - apparently this is the Worm Moon or the Crown Moon - Good Friday, Persian New Years Day , the first day of Aries (& the astrological calendar), and Purim. all these seem to point to new beginnings, which seems to be my theme for the year, but really, lets just get going already.

March 21 is also the origin of the phrase 'Who Shot JR?' in the season finale of Dallas, the birthdays of salacious Russ Myer (FASTER PUSSYCAT...), creepy Gary Oldman, eponymous Rosie O'Donnell, illustrious Kevin Federline, at least two other Open High students, and at least six new yorkers including a mother-son pair, who i don't know but am sharing a party with tonight.

next on my agenda: where to go for dinner?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

HC video alumni & the Whitney

Two former professors from the increasingly illustrious Hampshire College film/video department are showing in the Whitney Biennial now - amazing! The line-up looks great, and I'm intrigued by the inclusion of artists like The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and Spike Lee.

Julia Meltzer, who was one of my video teachers, and one of the many that left the department just before my thesis year (one of the many things that spurred a semester off), and her partner David Thorne are showing videos shot in Syria, experimental, documentary? works.

Jennifer Montgomery, who was at HC when i was, but I never took her classes, is showing films shot on and about Kodachrome. The still here is from her "Notes on the Death of Kodachrome." Her performance, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is Saturday at the Park Ave. Amory if you want to go!

more info on these folks when I can get to the exhibition!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

and, we're in.

met the super last night who wanted to make sure that I was 'alright.' the lease is all but signed, hopefully it will be soon! here's the most boring photo of a room (our new living room), ever.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

after seeing a haunted-feeling apartment - a rundown brownstone with dry thorny roses by the lion-guarded white metal fence, a private yard, 'garden entrance' and an okay price, dirty and badly maintained, with a rat problem and a cold wind blowing into the place up from the basement,...
i was convinced to put our money where my thoughts were and go for the warm, west-facing 5th floor two (large) room flat with a regular size kitchen and bathroom with a tub, fire escape and room for the bikes, the bar & the cat, a few blocks from the express trains and the park, with amenities like laundry in building, an elevator, and a thriving multicultural neighborhood. it's nearly twice what the falling apartment is, but for the location (significantly closer to work than falling apartment), and the style, i think im in. d is too, by default, and i hope he's as excited as me about seeing zira bark at obese pigeons on the fire escape where our tomatoes & herbs will grow, looking out onto mimosa trees and 'south prospect park' or 'lefferts gardens' or 'flatbush' or whatever you want to call it in the morning, putting the Love Mr Egg painting above the bed, filling the three closets with all our things, and putting the toys on the built-in shelf in the foyer.

after the unreasonably stressful application process i cleared my head with a scallion cream cheese+tomato+cucumber on an everything bagel, a few phone calls, and a very long walk from the realty office to my temporary home.

crooke ave

i may have found an apartment. it's between the Q train and the park. im excited but trying not to get too excited since i haven't put in an application - maybe tomorrow? this may be the bedroom. it may also be the bedroom for my future neighbors.

or not.

wish us luck.

Friday, February 29, 2008

thank you.

you're the best. maybe i can use it to find a place with this view. yes, you can stay any weekend. we'll go to the park.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

its my last night in DC right now (except for all those other nights). im about 3/4 packed, clothes mostly, not so much the long list i've written of other stuff I need. it's hard to leave town when you're both a) really only gone 10 days before you're back again & b)moving out of state... eventually. but soon! not to mention c: traveling on the bus & staying on your best friends couch.

so, i should be packing but im not. i'm also avoiding: voicemail, telling my landlords we're moving out & doing the dishes. I cannot get Lucero's "Last Night In Town" out of my head. I'm taking bad cellphone pics like this one and trying to get going. i just dyed my hair and it's alright. im wearing a moustache to a party tonight. possibly also a unibrow. and false lashes.

but first, i have to pack.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

got my cards read & she said big changes were in my future.

courage is necessary.oh, hey. it's been a while, huh? did you hear i'm moving to New York on Sunday? I'm a little nervous, and hoping that my couch surfing won't be too much a burden on my friends. have you a reasonably priced apartment for us? just me, the fellow and our charming cat. hopefully this orchid and trompe l'oeil print will make it too. it's trying to snow today and i wish it would, while simultaneously sending everyone to leave me big tips at the pizza shop tonight.
so, moving out of state, for good even, is kind of a big deal, and there are a lot of things I need to do and meant to do but will never get to (for now)

To Do:
-Beardstravaganza, find kickass beard or merkin to wear to my first appearance at this annual shindig - perhaps dave's pricklypear beer will make a debut?
-get rid of lots of stuff - do you need some blank periwinkle t-shirts? a biography of Proust? a Schwinn Peapicker lowrider? a '94 Saturn SL2? slightly broken sewing machine? a huge green couch and a pair of star trek-esque endtables? some old magazines?
-find a suitable tenant for our apartment - is it you?
-go dancing - but where?
-leave this fucking town. yay! screw you yuppies and politicos. remaining friends: I still love you.

meant to do in DC, but won't:
-visit all Smithsonians - only got to less than half. bummer. still time to hit the aquatic gardens and portrait gallery?
-eat vegetarian soul food, eat at Cafe Nora,
-see the Beastie Boys at the 930 Club, spot Dave Grohl hanging out at Black Cat,
-ride the secret US Capitol subway,
-write a DC city guide for Bust,
-fight for District equality including having true Congressional representation, and proper budgeting for the seriously suffering public schools. oh well.
-ride bikes to Mount Vernon (did i ever really mean to do this?)
-get on the board for Transformer gallery (James said I could if I had $5K. Maybe next year)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

performance art

It's Performance Week at Meat Market Gallery, and strangely, two friends from Hampshire are performing together - Megan Palaima and Liz Rosenfeld doing who knows what from 6-7p on Friday and at the closing party on Saturday. I'll be there Friday, wanna go?
Other friends Breck Brunson and the Yay! Team will be performing throughout the week, too, but as I'll be slinging pizza, i'll miss those. If you're liz or megan, and have a crafty google alert for your own name, hi! long time no see! wanna get a drink while you're in DC?
I asked a friend to invite her newish potentially uptight date to the performance with us, but she declined. Is inviting a new friend to see performance art an unfair test of character?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mirah + Spectratone International

Saw a great show last night with jen and a few other friends.
Mirah, a whispery, sultry, sometimes girly and silly-voiced soprano with her backing band Spectratone International. They said their openers canceled so they played their own warmup- a short set of covers, mostly - a stirring pirate shanty, Nico's "Fairest of the Seasons" and an older Mirah song. After the break, they sang mostly from their newest, Share This Place, which i don't have (yet), and seems to be mostly about bugs, longing and dangerous loves. One medieval-sounding song about a grain-sorting princess took from Led Zeppelin's mystical lyric style.

Spectratone International is a fab fourtet of cello, percussion, accordion and oud, a Middle Eastern mandolin like instrument.

The music was accompanied, in the second act, by unusual stop-motion animation by Britta Johnson, which was created for the performance. You can see on of the shorts and hear the band here. Johnson's creatures and shadows made from household castoffs are beautiful and kind of gross, alluring but not overwhelming to the performance. With the band playing to build tension with the video, it was a great combination. yay art!

The crowd was almost as intriguing as the show, a mottled and attractive selection of 20s and 30s, silently rapt with the
performance. who are these people and why dont I see them more often?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

flora nuevo

I inherited some new plants this week, and, as recoup from working 30+ hours this weekend, went on a potting spree yesterday. They seem to be happy in our dappled light apartment, so hopefully they'll survive!

This Aloe is a fledgling from a good friend's massive plant. I've never had an aloe before, so I'm glad to finally have this beneficial plant in the kitchen. aloe has a wide and shallow root system, so it should thrive in this terracotta bowl from Jen's house.

This is, I think, a tree philodendron, one of the smallest specimens I could find in my friend's house to take from Richmond with me. It's been repotted and put out of reach of Zira. It's poisonous; she ate some and had a not very good Saturday.

Found this leggy rubber tree in with the trash in front of my neighbors house. it's got lots of new growth on it, so I'm rescuing it. it need lots of light, and I'm not quite sure where to put it. Hopefully it's happy in the living room. It's poisonous, too, so stay away, Zira! it did not get repotted, rubber plants like to be rootbound.

Philla and Rubbert took a shower together, to clean months of dust off their tender leaves, and they seem happier together.

So, I've got nearly a dozen plants in the apartment now, and I don't think we bought any of them. I'm trying to encourage my Kaleidoscope Orchid to reflower, but, really, I'm just asking it to. I don't know any other way! The money tree is still humongous and leggy (Suffering from months of drought, per Jeremy), and the grass-like plant has been split three times and is still huge. It's a lot easier to take care of plants when there are so many asking for water!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


check my rad new bike! A charming red Follis, a 70s french mixte road bike with a bell. i think i'm in love. she rides smoothly thanks to a new derailleur from mr. smooth. i think i'll save up for a brooks saddle (with springs!), but not till after I have a job that pays money! speaking of, off to work!

oops - here's the ideal brooks saddle. only $240!