Monday, July 28, 2008

tie me up

Working with a small non-profit theater, you do what you can to turn a dime into a dollar.

Along with presenting a kick-ass theatrical experience, we offer the chance to buy a one-of-a-kind (extremely affordable) piece of art/handy dandy dada souvenier. It gives the audience a chance to take a small piece of "dada" home with them, and isn't a bad calling card for WNEP...all while raising a few bucks to suppliment our production costs.

Dada Ties. (man, I wish I had a picture of them to give you an idea of how marvelous they are...Brownie...D-Ray...a little help?) And they are a steal at $10 a pop.

Basically, we create take your standard tie. (Obtained from a thrift store)
We add things to them. (words, bits of paper, random objects)
We deconstruct them. (Cut them, burn them, shred them, etc.)
We take found objects and turn them into wearable (or displayable) three dimensional dada poems.

While WNEP is largely influenced by equal parts dadaism and improv, I, unlike some of my counterparts, while inspired by dada, do not consider myself a "dadaist." That said, it was an enormous compliment from Jen when this weekend, after surveying my latest Dada Tie, called me a "savant" when it comes to these creations.

Here are some descriptions of the abstractions I've created recently.

Pigs and Babies I (a series) : a completely henious greenish tie which I covered with tiny (think dollhouse tiny or smaller) pigs. SOLD.
Wearable Pet: A rubber koi fish floating mid-way on a blueish/grayish the bottom, various iridescient buttons. SOLD.
Pigs and Babies II : a completely henious gray tie which I covered with tiny (think dollhouse tiny or smaller) babies. Lisa said it looked like a fertility tie. SOLD.
Telegram: Vintage inspired postcard pieces cut out and "sewn" to gray and gold tie. At the bottom was the "message." Available as of 7/28.
Vurds, Vurds and more Vurds I (a series): Blue and red striped tie, with a big, black rubber fly sewn on, with the words, "Go Back." Available as of 7/28.
Madonna/Whore Cliche I (a series): Vintage inspired postcard pieces cut out and "sewn" to deconstructed tie. A lusty woman looks as though she is escaping or climbing out of the tie. Higher on the tie is a cross with a plastic lusty woman being crucified on it. SOLD
Madonna/Whore Cliche II (a series): Vintage inspired postcard pieces cut out and "sewn" to deconstructed tie. An angry woman looks as though she is escaping or climbing out of the tie. Higher on the tie is a cross with a plastic lusty woman being crucified on it. Available as of 7/28.
Metal/Mettle: About a dozen or so small oddly shaped keys sewn to a maroon tie. In the midst is a small picture of a frame of art. Available as of 7/28.
Life Is...: Vintage inspired postcard pieces cut out and "sewn" to deconstructed tie. An frighted man looks as though he is escaping or climbing out of the tie. He was missing a foot in the image, so I added a giant foot. Above him reads, "Life. Is. Here." SOLD
Vurds, Vurds and more Vurds II: A rosary is attached to a tie. Vintage inspired postcard pieces cut out and "sewn" to tie. A woman whispers into a man's ear and looks cautiously to her right. Next to them are letters that spell out "Moist." SOLD (I think.)
Eureka: A black and gray and red gorgeous tie with a b&w illustration of a man (circa 1920/30) crying from the shoulders up - sewn to tie. I took a small piece of fake hair and gave him a three dimensional chin-beard. Overhead, a small, burnt out light bulb. Underneath, in german, Krieg ist Hölle. Translation: War is Hell. SOLD (honestly, I think this one was my favorite and part of me wishes I had bought it for myself.)
Bolo: Folks were joking about a bolo tie one night, so I made an attempt at a dada version of a bolo tie. It's braided from the twine that is used during the show (if you've seen the show, think about the "life-sized marionette." The twine that is cut to release the marionette is what I used to create this bolo tie.)

I'm sure there are a couple others that are escaping my brain...
And, I'm not the only tie maker Many of the other cast/crew are creating ties too.

Jen's are utterly badass. Dude. She burns holes in them and shit. They are 10x more badass than mine. Joel created a couple that are subtle genius. He took two ties, cut out a matching peice from each in the shape of a jigsaw puzzle peice and then sewed them onto each opposing tie. (I believe they both sold!) Erin made one that another cast member snapped up before the citizenry even had a chance to peep at it! Mary, she spent the most time on hers...she deconstructed two ties and then sewed them back together by hand...they look awesome and she must have spent hours putting those together.

While I do some work on the ties at home, I mainly try to work on them when I'm backstage. during the performance. I have a few smallish walk-ons early in the first act, then help a couple times with props issues, but for the most part, I have a lot of free time until I go on late in the second act. In a way, it keeps me listening even more to what's happening onstage. Part of it is being inspired by the play itself. Part of it is an odd obessession to inhale as much dada as I can during this brief run.

Normally, I try to complete one tie per show...At Sunday's show, I brought two partially finished ties (which I finished prior to starting the show) and then finished three more ties (two in the first act, one in the second.) Mainly, I've figured out my m.o. in creating these, and spend less time judging my decisions and more time just creating them.

Honestly, I don't expect to ever be that prolific again. One tie a show is plenty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

keep hope alive

The Cubs are hanging onto their lead over week's four game series looks to be a pretty exciting match-up. This is usually about the time of the season when the Cubs start tanking and making sure we're on a path to be mathmatically eliminated...or so my father keeps reminding me.

It's just hard for some folks to hang onto that hope...but what else is there, but to hope! Especially when they've been delivering since spring.

The only pill I have to swallow (constantly) is my complete disregard for Zambrano as a person. As a pitcher and player, he's immensely skilled, no doubt. But, to quote a nasally delivered line from a favorite movie, "I can't STAND 'im!" I try to look past his oafish, annoying qualities and try to think of him solely as a player who is working hard to take the team all the way to the playoffs. We need his consistancy more that I need to like him off the field.

It's funny to discuss being positive and hopeful about this season, when we've been at the top of the heap all season long. How we have to keep ourselves in check...just in case. Well I call bullshit. They are going to defend (and win) the National League pennant and we'll be playing ball in October. You just gotta believe.

Bottom of the 8th against the Marlins...2-2.

Let's Go Cubs!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

message in a video shaped bottle

A good PSA only needs to accomplish one goal. Clearly communicate its message in a way that sticks in your brain. Reading is Fundamental. Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Stop, Drop and Roll.

Admittedly, I have a special place in my heart for all the ones on drinking and drug abuse.

Back to the point...30 or 60 seconds isn't a lot of time to get your point's an art.

Healthcare for America Now put together a great satirical look at the state of today's heathcare/insurance issue. (It's also nice to see some ex-pat Chicagoans in this vid.) And while it's funny, it's actually pretty dead on.

Okay...just this last one and I'm done. While I want every child to grow up safe and secure and happy....this is one PSA that just doesn't cut the mustard. Sorry, Fonz.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


My blood is boiling right now. Boiling.

The long fight on Capitol Hill centered on one main question: whether to protect from civil lawsuits any telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on American phone and computer lines without the permission or knowledge of a secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The White House had threatened to veto the bill unless it immunized companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. from wiretapping lawsuits. About 40 such lawsuits have been filed, and all are pending before a single U.S. District court.

Numerous lawmakers had spoken out strongly against the no-warrants eavesdropping on Americans, but the Senate voted its approval
after rejecting amendments that would have watered down, delayed or stripped away the immunity provision.

The lawsuits center on allegations that the White House circumvented U.S. law by going around the FISA court, which was created 30 years ago to prevent the government from abusing its surveillance powers for political purposes, as was done in the Vietnam War and Watergate eras. The court is meant to approve all wiretaps placed inside the U.S. for intelligence-gathering purposes. The law has been interpreted to include international e-mail records stored on servers inside the U.S.

"This president broke the law," declared Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis.

The Bush administration brought the wiretapping back under the FISA court's authority only after The New York Times revealed the existence of the secret program. A handful of members of Congress knew about the program from top secret briefings. Most members are still forbidden to know the details of the classified effort, and some objected that they were being asked to grant immunity to the telecoms without first knowing what they did.

WTF, Senate? This is smelling more and more like when you idiots voted for us to go to war with Iraq...even though most of you didn't even read the fucking 9-11 Commission Report. You granted immunity when you don't even know which laws they broke or how many times they did it?

Dick Nixon just came back from the grave demanding to know where you fucksticks were during Watergate? I mean, that's the whole point, they just made what he did, LEGAL. Lucky the law's not retroactive to the 70's or we'd have to cannonize him.

I'm so angry I could spit. Unfortunately, it doesn't help.