Friday, December 26. 2008
That title will be self-explanatory in a few moments. Hit the "play" button, remembering that we are technically still in the middle of the 12 Days of Christmas (today being Boxing Day) AND Hanukkah right now.
Isn't it nice how they got them both in there? And that boar's head... well, there's a nice reference, too.
Even if you don't celebrate these specific holidays, I hope you'll take a chance on it. There's likely something in this performance for everyone (else I wouldn't have posted it). I post it in a spirit of fun and general good will. You'll never get anything proselytize-y from me. I've got my path; I'm sure you're on yours.
(Besides, we all know most Christmas traditions are based on far older traditions, anyway.)
going a'wassailling (...again!!),
Sunday, December 21. 2008
...I bring you this:
Wow. Have you missed the MST3K folk as much as I have? The good news it that they seem to be more on top of their game than ever. Want more good news? This is only one of 3 -- THREE, folks!!! -- new movies of skewered movies they've released. Huzzah. The world is a better place.
Why yes, that IS the TARDIS making a surprise, split-second, silhouetted appearance. So clever of you to notice!!
vascillating between "naughty" and "nice",
Friday, December 5. 2008
Noodling about on teh interwebs (as I am wont to do) I came across this delectable ocular feast, presented by Theresa Honeywell.
The first thing I saw was the motorcycle cozy.
I fell in love instantly, because I can't get enough of the eloquent tension of opposites. Soft v hard, masculine v femenine, shiny v matte, pointy v smooth, machined v handmade; the dialogue, when done properly, can be both a delicate balance and an elegant ballet.
Theresa's motorcycle cozy is all of these things. In an article written by Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, she explains her initial inspiration: the dreaded toilet paper cozy.
Yeah. The toilet paper cozy. I know, right?
How many of you, when confronted by a roll of toilet paper in what's clearly ultra-secret, "I Can't Believe It's Not A Wedding Cake," The Spy Who Wiped Me mode, go looking for alternative hiding places for a different roll? I just don't want to disturb The One That Has That Hallowed Spot; it's special, and I don't want to leave the poor cozy hollow and purposeless.
We're probably all familiar with the style that sports a Barbie(TM) jammed down the middle of the tube. The skirt of her voluminous dress hides the roll of toilet paper, as if toilet paper ought to be out of sight unless on the spool for immediate use; the need for a spare roll being shameful, unspeakable, and unacceptable public evidence of excessive living.
Theresa has pondered these things too. She considers the lonely housewife who (she imagines) had no better way to spend her time than crafting this excellent over-the-top dust and pet fur magnet. Then she goes a step further and embraces the concept of "[item] cozy", and creates a cozy for objects other than just toilet paper. Things that are hard and harsh, and could do with a little softening and "girl-ing" up. Such as a motorcycle. And she does so, using the same medium used by countless grannies and charity afghan crocheters and frugal knitters (I've used it) across time and space: she uses the cheapest acrylic worsted available. Awesome.
I don't remember if my grandmother ever sat on my uncle's motorcycle, but I suspect that if I got close to Theresa's pink cozy-covered motorcycle, it would probably smell comfortable and familiar.
It is a very sucessful conversation between opposites. Not to mention one kickin' yakuza/harajuku ride for the Power Puff Girls -- which, naturally inspires another round of opposites: there's something very old and familiar about this that takes the viewer back to church basement craft fairs. Yet undeniably, these textures and colors are all over the hottest fashion trades and reflected in pop culture. It's granny and glam.
I needed to see if there were more interesting objects covered in compelling ways, so I headed over to Theresa's website.
Way. Too. Thrilling.
In all of her work, there is a common thread. Yarn. Well, she uses both. Anyway. The commonality is the perpetually contrasting stereotypical push-me-pull-you of the brash macho world thrust hard against the soft world of what is womanly. She uses the medium that is taken traditionally from women's work to either cover (and therefore, soften and femenize) Man Stuffs (seriously: the Jackhammer.) or artfully recreate a medium first practiced by Men.
(I'll just acknowledge here that tattooing and other body arts have been practiced the world over, for time out of mind. Men, women, and children have been marked on a variety of occasions for countless reasons. The type of tattoos recreated in Theresa's art are specifically the sort of tattoos that originally were designed by and for men, in Western Culture, in modern times.)
Her lace tattoos are worth volumes of words. Please visit her website.
Having a tattoo to hang on the wall really appeals to me. Consider how less painful these tattoos are to acquire than the traditional in-the-skin tattoos. Consider even more that they will not change shape (ahem) DAILY. Stretch marks, scars, dye absorption, etc.: not an issue here. It just seems like there's even more room for exploration with this medium than skin; not least because eventually, everyone runs out of skin... don't think I'm trying to talk you out of a tattoo, though! I know they are an important rite of passage for many.
There's also the added advantage of not having to heal after one of Theresa's tattoos. I would argue, in fact, that they may be a medium of healing, themselves.
Spend time gazing at these intricate layers of webwork. It's mesmerising. It's delicate and powerful. The imagery is at once familiar and mysterious. These pieces grab you by the retinas and don't let go. It's a bit like entering a miniscule, multilevel labyrinth, and you want to meet the Minotaur.
Her technique: She sews on air (yes, seriously. I suspect I know how she does it, but I'm not giving away any secrets.) just go and look. You simply have to see them. They are delicious.
Heartbreakingly labor intensive, and gloriously densely colorful. Like medieval ecclesiastic vestments, slightly twisted, rooted and blooming in a rainforest grown over a kryptonite landfill.
When you visit her website, please be sure to make careful note of her upcoming exhibits. You (like I) will want to see this up close and in person.
going back to look again,
Thursday, November 13. 2008
Thank you all for your thoughtful and personal responses to my post about my breast cancer scare. I'm humbled and honored (though unsurprised) to be among such strong and resilient people. Keep up your vigilance for your own health and the health of those you love.
Seek out free clinics if you have no insurance. If there isn't one in your community, speak to your health provider. A compassionate doctor can often find ways to help the patients who have financial difficulties.
One thing I failed to mention about my experience was that, being adopted, I have no family medical history. (I know that in this I am not unique, as well.) There was nothing in the file at the social services agency which brokered my adoption. This makes potential diagnoses and prognoses of future health issues (not just cancer) a little like flying an airplane in the fog without instruments. I'm in the peculiar process of searching for those strangers technically referred to as "biological parents", though I'd remove the "p" from "parents". All I want is medical history. I don't really want any other strings.
On the subject of strings, however, I have a very cool link for you today!! (Ahem. Moving from "fibroid" to "fiber" now...)
Needle'nThread has frequent giveaways, usually by way of random drawings. Head over to her very informative embroidery blog and answer the two questions in her Comments. I hope you win!! The November Giveaway is a rich stash to get a noob started, or a glorious array of "ooh, silky" for an established stitcher. Plus, a Jenny Hart book!
Act fast -- she's drawing the winning name on Tuesday, November 18!
crossing my fingers for your good fortune,
Friday, November 7. 2008
...just like real life.
A year ago today, I was recovering from the lumpectomy which was performed on me a year ago yesterday.
If you want, you can read about it HERE. (There are multiple posts about the experience, you might have to click on the "November 2007" link in the archives.)
My story had a happy ending. On November 9, I was told that the biopsy came back negative for a negative result: I was then and remain cancer-free.
I'm writing today as a reminder for you to check your breasts and the breasts of your partner, too.
Yup, even guys. ANYONE who has breasts is potentially vulnerable. Men are vulnerable to breast cancer, too. It's not as common, but because it's not as common, it tends to be more deadly. One of my professors died of breast cancer. He didn't live to see his final exhibit, which was about the humilliation he felt about dying from a disease he wasn't "supposed" to get.
YouTube considers breast self-exam and testicle self-exam videos to be for 18+ only audiences, which is ridiculous. So here's a link to a family GP's website with videos showing how to do both clinical checks. I love his grandfatherly delivery. I recommend them whether you've had the instruction or not!
I know it's a grim subject, but rather than hiding our heads in the sand, it's far better to go searching for the thing that isn't there for reassurance. Then, on the day we might find an irregularity, we are better prepared to face that battle. You know. Kind of like all those fire drills in grade school.
You know you're not alone, right?
yours, vigilant in health and health awareness,
Wednesday, November 5. 2008
Before you read further, one word of caution: this movie has no relation to the Repo Man I first thought of, the one with Emilio Estevez and the kick-arse sound track. I assure you, this one will carry on the tradition of a kick-arse sound track...
I'm expecting the folk at Threadbanger will have a ball with this, just as they did with Sweeney Todd.
How about if readers of The AntiCraft beat them to it? They haven't posted anything related to this movie. Yet. Show us what you can do! Come up with your own amazing creations (NOT limited to clothes) based on the smorgasbord of visual delight that is Repo! The Genetic Opera!
Crank the volume, and hit "play".
If you're lucky enough to be somewhere that gets this movie, shout out the name of your city/ send up a flare so we can all
Just LOVE Anthony Stewart Head. Sarah Brightman, though? THAT'S a surprize and a bit of a delightful puzzle. Paris Hilton seems like a satisfying carve-up. (... she says, crossing fingers...!)
grateful that eye candy is calorie- and fat-free,
Wednesday, October 29. 2008
Attention, dear Whovians!
I know you're out there. This one's for
Before you hit the "play" button, I challenge you to contemplate this: would YOU eat seeds from this fruit???
Well. THAT bar's been set pretty high.
Drooling. Simply drooling...
Friday, October 24. 2008
...when everyone likes a good scream a wee bit more than usual.
So if you're looking for something to do this weekend, or if you happen to need a good movie suggestion because you're coming up blank, CLICK.
Highbrow entertainment, it isn't. But you're looking for horror and gore. It's full of win. Especially right NOW, with TODAY'S blog post which reviews "The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula". Not gory, although that depends on whether your definition is literal or figurative or even poetic. It's definitely a train wreck when you factor in multiple singing opportunities for Paul Williams and Shawn Cassidy. Wait'll you find out who stars as Dracula AND who drives the bus...
Don't worry, there are chainsaws and co-eds in the forest a'plenty in other offerings. Which are legion.
Laughing, popping corn, snuggling on the couch with the dog, with a sinfully gleeful anticipation of throaty screams,
Wednesday, October 22. 2008
...which is not really the best, most ragingly over-the-top-with-superlatives description I could come up with for my new photography crush, Nicholas Beatty.
Go see for yourself.
Brace yourself, though. If you like Dia de los Muertos, or skulls, or Catrinas even a little bit, have smelling salts at the ready. You're in for the swoon of the week.
Not only is his work good, it's supported by >gasp!< brilliant research and writing of a high quality.
(What are you still doing here? Just, you know, come back after you're sated...)
Fanning myself rapidly and heading back in for more,
Wednesday, October 15. 2008
Wednesday, October 8. 2008
Jeff Koons is an artist. I know this because he is listed in loads (yeah... remember that word. You may want to use it. Or not.) of catalogues. Oh -- and I learned about him in art school. Even back then, heated disputes arose. (This is another good context for "load" again. There will be others. Just pointing it out, though it may or may not be my opinion.) He's a pop artist, which may go some distance towards an explanation.
My point here is that the guy is controversial. He sparks conversation. His work sells for multimillions, regardless of the currency in question. That fact sparks even more controversy than his work.
He's got a new exhibit. It's at the Palace of Versailles.
I just about fell over laughing when I heard this.
Imagine a collection of vintage 1960's vacuum cleaners, all picked up from a day's shopping at thrift shops, arranged on individual white stands, covered by individual plexiglass boxes. Now put them in a lush and lavish bedroom fit for Louis Catorze.
THAT'S why. And it's only a beginning of why! Here's a taste of what one salon looks like.
photo from Getty Images via daylife.com
Yup. It's a lobster.
Here's some art criticspeak about the exhibit!!! CLICK ONE CLICK TWO CLICK THREE
It's not even his idea!
Now, I'm ok with that to an extent. There is, after all, "nothing new under the sun". (NOT a reference to the Sun King, btw...) I didn't say that, that's why it's in quotation marks. It's from the unknown author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, a writer widely believed to be King Solomon. No one knows for sure if it really was him, but everyone pretty much agrees with the wisdom of the statement. The thing is, when you do go borrowing something that you know full well not to be yours, the polite thing to do is to give credit.
In 1917 a French artist entered a peculiar sculpture into a New York art show and signed a sort of 'pen name' to the front of it. Here is a photo of that entry.
photo from writedesignonline.com
It was absolutely scandalous at the time, and not just because it was a urinal. It was also the beginning of Marcel Duchamp's career in the United States and the challenging, indelible mark he made on 20th Century Art, regardless of how established he was in France before his emigration.
What was the scandal?
For one thing, Duchamp didn't make it. He simply picked it up, wiped it off, signed it, dated it, and submitted it. Some poor schmuck accepting submissions probably got screamed at for weeks by a Women's Committee committee, and that must have been about the most miserable he'd be for a good decade or so, til the Great Depression, if they let him live that long.
Here's the biggest sin of all, though: artists (at the time) didn't get to determine what art was. The art critics got to make that call. Artists create, Critics declare. Because of all of the mighty declarations made over this (in all normal contexts) insignificant chunk of porcelain, the dialogue raised the level of this extraordinary submission to the level of art, defying the critics and empowering the artists.
Another very famous and scandalous Duchamp Readymade (1919) was his alteration of a cheap print of Leonardo daVinci's Mona Lisa. He scribbled a curly moustache on her upper lip and pointy goatee on her chin and wrote in the white space beneath the painting, "LHOOQ". If you say the letters out loud in French it sounds more like "elle ahsh O O cooh", and means (according to my art history profs), "she has a cute arse".
Marcel Duchamp was a god to us.
So why not Koons? Well, maybe he is.
Maybe I'm jealous.
Maybe I'm hoping you'll think about it yourself, not needing to know where I stand. I will say this: do kind of wish Koons would tip his hat either to Duchamp by signing something "Mutt", or to Rene Magritte by making a print of something and writing underneath it, "This is not a ____." He could even take something that is obviously NOT a pipe and write "Cesi n'est pas un pipe." Unfortunately, Jeff Koons seems not to wear a hat to tip.
(To give Koons a bit of credit, I don't believe he does the "ready-made" borrowing anymore. When those works are seen, they are on loan from someone's private collection. The works he's made popular lately resemble figured and mylar baloons. They look so convincingly like colossal mylar baloons, you'll want to know how you can get one for yourself!! Except they are in fact stainless steel. I can't find a source to confirm it, but I think the lobster hanging a the top of this post is also steel that's been painted.)
Maybe right this minute, I'm revelling in the whole "there is nothing new under the sun" PLUS "what goes around comes around". I kind of feel like the New York art world of almost 100 years ago is getting even with the Paris art world of almost 100 years ago (and not missing by more than, say, 100 years) by putting what looks like cheap plastic tschochkes and every day appliances in the Sun King's palace. Hey, it's dialogue, right?
It makes me giggle.
It remains for you to determine whether it's a load of news or just a steaming load.
Looking for a dustbuster to frame and hang on the wall,
Thursday, October 2. 2008
Fair warning: this video is old school, Country-Western, a fine Patsy Cline-ism of a song, and may not be to your musical taste. Widen your horizons this once, if you're not a country fan. (I'm not usually; I have some exceptions.) I wouldn't post it if it wasn't worth it. Here are some coping mechanisms if you need them. You prob'ly won't.
If you object to this style of music, then imagine the women as drag queens. (NOT a stretch. And just mayb-- Naaah.) It would be a great cabaret song. They need more glitter and feathers, and perhaps to accessorize with the knitting needles that light up.
Alternatively, put Camper Van Beethoven or REM or The Blues Brothers (with the barmaid saying, "Oh we got BOTH kinds. We got Country AND Western!!!" pre-show at Country Bob's Country Bunker) in their place, and you might be better entertained. I like this just fine, though my imagination likes the "covers" too. 'Specially the Jake and Elwood one, just after they sing "Sometimes it's ha-a-a-a-ard to be a woman..." ANYWAY...
I can't stop laughing. Even after the 5th time through; I think I'm laughing harder the more familiar I get with it. It's JUST. THAT. GOOD. True, even!
Didja catch the shout out to Elizabeth Zimmerman? Rawks.
Holding my sides and hitting "Replay" again,
Wednesday, October 1. 2008
This is some outstanding embroidery. I have a new string-crush. CLICK to see!!
Please make sure you browse the rest of her embroidery photos. Ni-i-i-i-i-ice.
Wiping away the drool (and reaching for the floss and hoops),
Friday, September 26. 2008
These guys are awesome. It's the Finnish Shouting Men's Chorus, or Mieskuoro Huutajat. ("MEE' skoo row WHO' tuh yaht", for those who like to pronounce things out loud.)
Well, would you say otherwise??? To their faces?? They're yelling, they look like Vikings dressed as The Blues Brothers with ties made of bike tire inner tubes. I'm not doing anything (after saying "they're awesome") except backing away slowly and perhaps offering them some cookies. Although, as angry as they look onstage, I'll bet they're quite friendly and mild-mannered face to face. Being friendly and laid back is a typical Finnish cultural marker. They'd probably share the cookies.
I do happen to enjoy the shouting enough to want to share it with you. Here's a small taste of their performance, in the form of a movie trailer. (A movie was made of them. It won some awards.)
In addition to performing songs and poems, Mieskuoro Huutajat like to shout a wide repertoire of national anthems. It caused a bit of an uproar sort of thing (as far as uproars go) when they performed in France, and wanted to shout La Marseillaise.
Here's how they conceptualized The Star Spangled Banner:
I hope you aren't offended (my husband was, and it led to a very heated conversation); also please know that I'm not posting it for political purposes. In my opinion it's a creative work of art, respectfully performed, elegant, evocative of the militaristic lyrics, and not even a little bit like Roseanne Barr brutally butchering the same song at a baseball game some years back. In fact, I found myself paying closer attention to the words than I usually do. I'd call that a success. I'd perhaps even call this artform AntiSinging...
Enjoying having my horizons stretched further,
PS: For other interesting non-sacred choral excursions, go to YouTube and search for "Complaints Choir". Many large cities are finding that they have choirs devoted to voicing the complaints of their citizens, and it's very entertaining, lyrical, poignant, hilarious, and I hope Cleveland gets one soon!!
Wednesday, September 17. 2008
Got any plans for Friday?
I mean, it IS a major holiday: International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
(NOT to be mistaken for International Talk Like Yoda Day. Man. If I had to be assassinated, I'd choose AskANinja to do the job. I'd probably die laughing before he got near me with the katana. Or whatever.)
Need a pirate name? CLICK. This one's fun, imaginative, and safe for mixed company, regardless of how you define "mixed company". Answer 20 questions (one or two invoke The Muppets; how can that be wrong?) and it spits out your name. Mine's "Iron Bess Kidd". I dare you to share yours.
So if you don't have any other plans, here's a way cool sock pattern. Saving you valuable moments of your life searching for it, the chart/graph is a pdf link in the column on the left-hand side of the page, under the twist collective logo, with the rest of the free patterns.
Skulls and argylle. Just beautiful. I'd make different color choices, but I'll give them this: it definitely photographs well.
So now you have no excuse to NOT celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day! Now go swab something!!!
fricasseeing a wise-cracking parrot,
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