monster vs. monster

July 5, 2010, 8:50 pm
Filed under: round up | Tags: , ,

You guys, I can’t document my summer vacation. I tried. I know when I get back to Providence people are going to ask me what I did this summer, and since I have no epic adventures or marathon challenges in the mix, it’s going to be a difficult question to answer. I thought if I wrote down all my summer stories in weekly recaps, I’d be able to fully represent my west coast summer in all its awesome sunshiney glory. But I have failed. There is too much. There has been family time and old friend time and wedding time and lots and lots of dancing. There have been fairs and art openings and shows in busses, vegan fast food and red pepper ice cream. There has also been an unbelievable stroke of I can’t even say it out loud that featured picnics and wine in coffee mugs and music and movies and curbs and bubbles. Oh, there has been knitting, too.

Luckily, I think my last five weeks will give me lots to report. There will be shows, including au revoir simone / social studies, peter and the wolf / the shivers / kelli scarr, and phosphorescent / j. tillman, which are all very quietly exciting. There will also be time for a renegade craft fair (now with vegan food!), several bouts of kickball, some street cinema, some cult induction, and yarn visitation of all kinds. And, like always, there will be girls nights, farmer’s markets, books and coffee, beer and barefootness. And if I never get a chance to write it all down for you, well, maybe it’s for the best, because how do you leave a summer like this behind?


how i spent my summer vacation (week two)
June 8, 2010, 5:59 pm
Filed under: nice day, photo | Tags: ,

a few days back in oakland and i’m already in love again. i drove up to see why? with bw at the new parish, a new-to-me venue that was super awesome except for the fact that they leave the patio doors open and we came home reeking of cigarettes. the show was fantastic, with lots of singalongs. if you can make it to see themselves on thursday you should go. i was originally planning to stay for twelve hours, afraid that if i didn’t leave immediately i would never muster up the strength to make it back to my family in southern california, but tragedy struck and i stayed a bit longer so that i could say goodbye. in the meantime there were drinks at park ave and the grand tavern, karaoke at cato’s, front yard bbqs and a game of kickball, street parties, vegan dinners, and friendsfriendsfriends. unfortunately i took pictures of nothing but art murmur, so art murmur is what you get for this week. i went by myself (a VERY new thing for me) and ran into people i knew, met bands, chatted with strangers, and had a generally phenomenal time. i’m hoping to be back for the next one, on 7/2. i am also looking for something fantastic to do on the fourth of july…but one plan at a time is the most i can currently hold in my head.

art murmur has music, food, and, of course, art, but most important at art murmur is the awesome shit. for example, a sewing machine powered by bicycle.

other, more creative, awesome shit includes button making with church of craft (and why the hell do we not have a providence branch of c.o.c.? can we please make that happen?) and a game of “abstract chess” that seemed to basically amount to a competition between line drawings. but i have never understood chess, so don’t take my word.

these girls, waste band, played folk music next to a taco truck. they were very sweet. also, their web address is, which makes me laugh. this drumline morphed throughout the evening into drum circle and, at one point, acapella chorus. i’m pretty sure.

a noise band, primary colors, was playing in the front window of mama buzz, and the lead singer rolled around in black paint the ENTIRE TIME. they were, surprisingly, pretty great, and they had some devoted dancers. the one man band did not smile the entire time i watched him. he seemed pretty unsure about life.

there is also, of course, ART at art murmur, but most of it is…well…you know.

people usually cap off art murmur with the burlesque show at stork club, and spread out along that block were vegan ice cream sandwiches and bacon s’mores, literally side by side. i don’t think you can find this juxtaposition anywhere else – or at least, not in such peaceful conjunction. oakland is the best place ever.

this week also featured babysitting and cat-proximity and oh, how desperately i want my own little vulnerable things to chase around and cuddle with and take care of. preferably ones that don’t scream at me when they wake up from their afternoon naps.

issues birthday party
June 18, 2009, 10:39 am
Filed under: local, nice day | Tags: , , , ,


Two Sundays ago, everyone’s favorite newsstand turned two years old. Issues is a godsend to anyone with a niche interest and a desire to shop local. Joe, Noella, and their crew of helpers are hugely invested in the things they sell. They are also astoundingly friendly and will happily keep you at the shop for hours talking curry pot pies and experimental noise. 


Sunday’s party, like last year’s, got pretty crowded. Issues has a lot of fans. Speakeasy Brewery donated a couple of kegs, and people in the close quarters made small talk, sipped on their red cups, and lovingly decimated the store’s formerly neat piles of sale items.

crowded shop


decimated t-shirt boxes

palm reader laura kennedy

There was also a palm reader, Laura Kennedy, camped out in the corner!


books plus hats

fat bottom plus books

Fat Bottom Bakery provided amazing mint chocolate and vanilla strawberry cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. They also have an Issues-party roundup on their blog, here.

fat bottom customer

fat bottom bakery

1 crowd

There’s Natalie!

2 crowd hi ron

And Ron! Hi Ron!

4 crowd

5 crowd

When we all assembled for the raffle, the crowd was seriously huge.


Noella looks sneaky…

1 raffling

raffling wine

raffling confusion

raffling announcements

6 crowd

The party hats were shiny and the prizes were endless. All in all a very successful raffle. I won a gift certificate to Piedmont Avenue’s newest addition, Mercy Vintage

9 crowd

winding down


joe and noella smiling

And lastly, at the end of the day, the happy store-owners, squint-smiling.

studio one poetry reading
June 10, 2009, 11:49 am
Filed under: local | Tags: ,


Thursday night I wandered into a building that I had walked past dozens of times but had never really noticed. The Studio One Art Center, located on the outskirts of Oakland’s Temescal district, looks like any other big beige city building, nothing like the quirky storefronts and offbeat coffee shops and practice spaces-cum-galleries that house most of Oakland’s downtown art. But it does have something wonderful to offer – a monthly poetry reading series that presents local artists in a kind, casual atmosphere. Admission is free but they ask for a small donation (in exchange for red wine or PBR, of course) and maybe that you buy a $3 book or two. 

for sale


mike young

Mike Young writes his sweetly humorous words in a way that makes him sound like he’s off to the side at a party listening very politely to someone he does not know and quietly translating everything into his own associative, nonlinear language. He has a rare knack of stringing beautiful thoughts together while still sounding perfectly sincere. Read his blog here. He’ll be reading around the Bay Area June 11th-13th, definitely go and say hello. 

jake's film

eyes - jg screenshot

Jake Gillespie is a painter and new media artist from Nebraska who now finds himself in the Bay Area. His stop motion films showed several ink and watercolor drawings with lines either emerging from them or piling onto them, evoking sound and movement, growth and withdrawal. Lovely. You can view screenshots here, after the second update. I picked up his dvd, “Almost Almost Almost,” which has two shorts like this and many unlike this. I’m still getting a feel for his oddball humor, but I can say for sure that I love his four-eyed portraits more than I’ve loved any art in a long time.

o' brien

Geoffrey G. O’Brien, a Berkeley faculty member, read several pages of his rhythmic, epic and, in his words, “tyrannical” latest work. Great interview here, via the SORS people.


My loot for the day – a tour-only chapbook, a dvd, and a renewed love of live art.