setting sail for the great rocky north

Greetings on this day of the first great presidential pageant of this election season, from Portland Maine, where I recently saw both this…

The lovely wreck of a ship at Higgins Beach

and This…

one of our many angrily mumbling characters

within just days of each other.

But, while Portland in the fall is proving to be lovely, I am headed North to Deer Isle for the next week starting tomorrow. First I will be teaching a weekend-long workshop at Haystack for the annual Open Door session, which is usually the final session before the end of the season. These sessions are open to Maine residents only and are short and sweet. I’m really excited about getting up there for this season. It has become one of my all time favorite places in the past couple of years, and I am lucky enough to get to go there occasionally.
Following this Haystack workshop, I will be doing a week long residency at the Pace House in Stonington, just down the road from Haystack, until the following weekend. This is a fantastic big old house right near the water that was donated to Maine College of art to use as an artist residency center. I was picked to go over the summer, and tonight I loaded up my car with assorted tools and bits and pieces to see if I can’t make use of the barn studio in this great old house. I won’t lie, I am really looking forward to a minute of downtime. I will work on nothing but this current body of work, which has to be installed in about a month and, well, isn’t ready. I think I can get well into another piece in the short time that I’m in Stonington.

Anyway, In local culture news, I have seen a few bands lately to varying degrees of success.
At the start of this semester, I went to see the band Jaill (terrible name, pretty good rock and roll) at Space Gallery

Jaill was actually kind of a let down, but the band that they played with, Fergus and Geronimo, were quite good. I actually knew of them first, but found their recorded stuff to be kind of silly. The record I have verges on indy rock parody.
Live though, they really put on a good show. both of these bands were pretty straight forward rock and roll, but with a psychedelic bent. not a life changing show, but worth seeing Fergus and Geronimo for sure.

Fergus and Geronimo

Then, about two weeks ago, I went to see Dr Dog at the State Theater. For some reason, I seem determined this fall to only see bands with awful names.
Anyway, I think the most recent Dr Dog album, Be The Void, is one of their best in a while, so I was excited to see them. Just like the last time I saw them, which was at the Casbah in San Diego, Delta Spirit was the opening act. I find these guys to be entirely formulaic in both their sound and their overall stage presence. They look like someone thumbed through the Hipster handbook and picked a careful cross section of the various types… “hmmm, lets do one geeky hipster, on keys and synths of course, one super stoner hipster, on bass to keep things interesting, and one cocky pretty one up front, of course.”
Their songs tend to build to anthemic epics every time. They have found something and they are sticking to it. More power to them.

Delta Spirit

A lot of people would probably say the same of Dr Dog actually. But, I think the two lead singers and the diversity between the two keeps them interesting. I prefer one over the other, but both offers something different to the band and it keeps it interesting.
Dr. Dog did not disappoint. They really just put on a great show. They are tighter than ever, have great new material, and look like they are actually having fun. I want to be in a band like this.

Another show that’s coming up that I’m pretty excited about is Dan Deacon at Space in November. He is another one who’s most recent record, America, has been on pretty constant cycle on my stereo lately. Should be good.

two more recent events I partook in:
The first was Wendy Maruyama’s Tag project exhibition at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston about Two weeks ago.

The tags as you enter Wendy’s show

This was the first East coast iteration of Wendy’s most recent body of work, and it was great to see her and her husband Bill and the work that she has been doing since I last saw her. The work, a series of collected objects and constructed cabinets of and from the internment camps, was great, but it made me wish even more that I had gotten out to San Diego to see it all in one place. In particular, I really want to see the tags all hanging in one space. I imagine this being very powerful. If you are not familiar with this project, check out her project blog here
and go check out the exhibition while it is in Boston.
Anyway, I was really glad to get to see Wendy and the show.

After getting home from Boston around 2:00 am, I packed my bag, slept for two hours, and boarded a plane to Albuquerque to participate in the International Symposium, on Electronic Arts (ISEA2012) for a short whirlwind weekend. While the trip was too rushed and strange to really enjoy, It was great to see Matt Hebert, Who had a couple of his great solar powered sculptural furniture works in two exhibitions for the event.

Matt in front of the wall of colored pencils.

I was showing my large mapping piece, Build Your Own Cities, and lots of people came through and built on top of it over the course of the day.

The overall experience was not so great. In the end, I paid a ton of money to get my work to this event, and it was somewhat underwhelming. Not to mention, I returned home sick, and witnessed both a man getting kicked in the face in the street, and a woman on a scooter getting plowed down in an intersection by a stoned kid in a pickup truck who ran a red light. It was a lot for two days in a strange city. I’ll give it another try, but I won’t be happy about it.

stay tuned for some updates on the Haystack experience and the mid-semester residency.

thanks for reading.
here’s this…

ABQ does one thing right.

and this…

This “art car” is called Camera Van. It is covered in broken old camera parts. It’s like it’s documenting all its surroundings simultaneously… except it isn’t.

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Filed under art/artists, geeking out, Music

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