Sunday, August 24, 2008

everything suddenly honks

1.Bleecker St. Subway
2. The Strand
3. My Sublet in Williamsburg
4. JMZ train entrance
5.The Diner (press photo - not me)
6.The view from my sublet window every day
7.The uppermost portion of my school building 

Dad: "What is all that noise?"

Me: "Oh yeah, remember I moved to New York?"

Re: Street musicians on a Sunday afternoon whilst walking to the train and talking to my father. 

Number two from the top not a library folks but rather The Strand bookstore in my first favorite of places in New York City, Union Square. I had my back to the fiction section and yet perhaps I should study some Judaica as the sign beckons. I picked up some of my future professor's work that I haven't tackled yet. This term I am taking a workshop class with Jonathan Safran Foer who wrote Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. So yes by workshop he will be giving me his thoughts on my actual writing. I am also taking a craft class in which I study works of fiction with Darin Strauss who wrote Chang and Eng which you must please, please read. It is beyond amazing. It is excellent to have reading as I get better suited for dining alone for the first time in quite some time. Though I don't mind it one bit I have a personal tendency to watch people if my hands are not filled with a book and I don't think the said people like it very much. 
There are many wonderful things that have been said to me recently from my father wondering about the noise to painters in Greenwich Village wanting to paint me. 
And then the sentimental of all words spoken is my Virgin America clerk (a nice little old man) who did nifty things to my baggage to charge me less saying, "We've lost an Angeleno but we've gained a writer." 
Yes, he asked why I had four bags and I explained my situation and no sooner were those sweet words spoken than I was getting moved out of my cramped middle seat to a row right behind the first class cabin by a window all by myself so that I could "work"....on a rather crowded plane. And if you haven't flown Virgin America please do make it a point. They bring you food or cocktails if you so desire when you want it. You just order on the screen. This very same screen hosting hundreds of music (most of which are impressive offerings) and movies and free/premium television. I found myself wide awake the entire trip re-reading Denis Johnson's Jesus Son, memorizing the Western mesa, and watching the sun fall somewhere over the flat plains of Middle America, the small town electricity faint as bits of mirror. 
I was wide awake with joy, fear, and a bit of shock. Even still this is all coursing through me and should be I feel. My smile is still splitting at the seams at its own leisure. Upon arrival I took a cab to my sublet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's a pre-war townhouse walk up with hardwood floors and a dominant color of white. The renter of which (I found on craigslist with fingers crossed) is a very nice and very gorgeous Ford model who literally just departed for Greece. I'm around the corner from the mouth of the JMZ train so my days and nights are filled with the sounds of buses stopping and starting, the train hissing on its rails, cab driver's personal life soundtracks, and a couple who like to stop and fight outside my window. I'm doing my best to not yell down and suggest they break up already. 
These are all lovelies though (minus the couple) even when my face is washed by a wave of exhaust and I am fifteen blocks off course. It all seems perfectly right and I am absolutely smitten with the aesthetic of it all. The brick townhouses and brownstones, the kids break dancing on the stairs, and the sight of books and crosswords in peoples fingers on the subway. Anywhere else I would notice more that my feet are blistered, bloody even in parts, and that I've just walked several miles. Right now though, I am just happy to be here. 
I start classes on the 2nd of September and until then I feel my days will be much as they have been. Filled to the brim with walking aimlessly, train hopping, permanent apartment hunting, and reading/dining regularly at The Diner. This joint has fantastic music, food, and looks like the interior of a train perhaps because it is a circa 1920's dining car with exposed layers of paint, wood, and gorgeous tile work. It's the closest thing in sight and I'm a lucky girl because it's so great I wish it was my dining room minus the less interesting strangers. The interesting ones can stay and believe me there are walking stories in this city sprouting out of every corner and subway like wildfire. 
But now kids, it is time for me to step out into the noise, take the carefully torn out scrap of the inevitably difficult Sunday New York Times crossword and find myself some dinner and maybe even a drink. 

the la miss list

I lost my own gorgeous photos of this in the computer crash. It was a Dell. What did I expect? Here are some photos of the Chris Burden Vintage Streetlamp installation at the LACMA Broad Contemporary from their website.

On to the miss list...
Four years of having to spell out Talmadge St., The Vista Theatre, Early evening runs on the track field at John Marshall High School, Long Beach Flea Market, The Chris Burden lamp post installation at the LACMA - Broad Contemporary (see left), Oak Tree Gun Club, The Getty and its lawn, Cemetery screenings at Hollywood Forever, Angel City Drive In, Walking up to The Drawing Room, Late night sidewalk chalk murals with Conner, The Roost, Photo crawls with Wes, All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock, Steaks at Jones, Cube's homemade pasta, Alcove, Intelligentsia Coffee, Amoeba Music, movies at the Arclight, 101 diner, Emily in her wench costume at Red Lion Tavern, my old apple green walls, all the lovely ladies of Los Feliz and elsewhere who know who they are. I am comforted though to recall that downtown Jamie has my coral reef pulled from Bahaman waters and closer to my old home just south of Griffith Park, Bethany has my porcelain white horse, chicken book, and mattress to keep me feeling connected. Her living room that I walked to remaining a favorite place of book club meetings, gin and tonics, and general shit solving. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

the land of enchantment

Considering I am about to make a big move (LA to NYC) I was initially in a panic about spending a few weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico with my former boss Bryan Cranston as he directed the first episode of his show Breaking Bad. As it turns out though it was a good time. There was a much needed respite from some drama in LA, the crew was beyond friendly, the episode looks phenomenal, and there were some pretty and ugly things that gave me pause. 
These photos are from various filming locations or from one of my morning runs. Albuquerque is a city of pockets. Pockets of grand proportions and pockets of icky proportions. Being as it was a major stop on Route 66 there are a veritable myriad of motor lodges in Albuquerque.  Some of which have abandoned their signs such as the one to the left (food instead of motor) which hangs over an empty lot.   Perhaps the more interesting fact about ABQ is that during the summer it rains almost every afternoon and as the skies are so sweeping you can see the storm inching towards you in some spots. I grew up in the country in Alabama so I have seen some lovely sunsets, however, they really couldn't hold a candle to what I saw here. The sky was overwhelmingly gorgeous pretty much all of the time. It is no wonder that this area particularly Sante Fe is so lauded by photographers. 
As for Sante Fe, I had done rather extensive research in hopes my day off would be spent exploring its bounty. Bounty being a respectful visit to a few museums, a vestige to the bizarre Loretto Chapel, and  a jaunt across the Turquoise Trail with its alleged ghost towns from the gold mining days. Throw in the Sante Fe Southern Railway which has routes to a sleepy town called Lamy good for picnics under the cottonwoods. Not to mention, I found myself a mine shaft to visit. These are all things I did not get to do because of work but so it is. I probably would have had to wake up at dawn to make all of that happen and even so that is a pretty ambitious plate. Instead I ran work errands, got stormed in at a Red Lobster, and once night fell and I was officially free there was little else to do than watch almost the entire first season of Mad Men (which I now love). Let it be known though that I WAS prepared to make the most of my work vacation but work called. 
On a more personal note, ABQ was a great way to realize how ready I am for strangers and the clean slate that NYC will provide. I was initially pretty terrified leaving my fold but now I am rather excited as to who all will color my life for the next few years. Enough of the boring and on to the photographs! So you can view the extensive gallery on the following Picasa link:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

to auspicious beginnings!

To your left is "Miniature America" by Ed Ruscha circa 1982, which is ever so appropriately my year of birth. About two years ago, a friend gave me a book of his paintings entitled "They Called Her Styrene." This one really stuck out and made me want to be somewhere barren of commerce. I have a thing for the small town aesthetic. I think rust is incredibly pretty. I love the smell of a hose on a hot day. Returning to Ruscha, my personal favorite from that collection of paintings is "The Last Thing I Need Is A Pair Of Binoculars." I don't believe that needs any additional explanation regarding its eloquence. It doesn't work as a blog title though. It's a bit much. At any rate, in coming up with a name for a blog I ran through a few (grass is greener, lilt, etc) all of which were taken and then this painting came back to me. Anyone who knows me knows I'm on a fence about this blog thing. My problems being will I regret some of what I write and does anyone really care? I really decided to do it because I couldn't stay in een per dag, my beloved SCAD alumni one a day photo project. It is being honored in my Sunday Reading section on this very page. I left that project because the daily command was compromising the quality of the work for me personally. So here and now, I am hoping to post photos for the een per dag audience and any others interested. As I am entering my MFA program at NYU for Writing - Fiction, there is a chance some drivel/magic might wind up on here. Really the goal is just to share some of the things that please me currently as we all seem to have less and less time to stay in touch.

Carry on comrades,