Friday, June 30, 2006

Parenting Advice From Adult Swim: Dr. Venture Says...

"...if you have a clumsy child you make them wear a helmet, if you have death-prone children you keep a few clones of them in your lab."

Love The Venture Brothers. Season 2 has arrived!!!! Thank you [adult swim].

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cool Rooms: '30's Cartoon Style for Kids, Mario Bros. for Guests

For your decorating consideration, two bedrooms.

Vintage Cartoon

Link (via Boing Boing)

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Super Mario Bros.

Link (via Cartoon Brew)

Music: Mine, Grant's and Muse's

I've wasted much of the morning using Apple's Garageband program to screw with songs of my own, plus a couple of midis pulled from the internet.  The tunes will never amount to anything significant, but its fun noodling around with them

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Big-time news for an Atlanta stagehand/musician friend of mine.  Grant Davis (pictured above with Arlo Guthrie) just got signed to Sony.  His music is county/rock, he practically lives at Sidelines, and his album is being played on stations out west from what I heard.  This weekend friends will be getting together to bust his chops and ask for money.  

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I never thought that I would be seeing my favorite british rock band in Atlanta, even though they have played here in the past.  But they'll be at the Tabernacle, August 6th.  Is it stupid that the Tabernacle doesn't have a website?  Anyways, the Muse myspace page is streaming the whole album, which I will be listening to once I am done posting this.  British online music site PlayLouder posted that tonight they will be playing a London show.

"Tonight they play their comeback show at Shepherd's Bush Empire, dubbed The Empire Strikes Back Super Massive Concert, it's a gig for fans only... and PlayLouder, who will be popping along to tell you how it goes. PlayLouder that is, not fans. They'd just scream hysterically in your face while their eyeliner runs everywhere. . .       . . .Go on admit it, it's good isn't it. . . "

New album, coming to the ATL, good?... yes it is!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Variety Makes Us Stronger: Atlanta Pride Parade 2006

This isn't my Atlanta Pride picture, but I love it. Click to picture for Far Left's story behind the shot.

It was a year-ago this weekend that my wife and I visited Atlanta for the first time, and searched Mid-Town for apartments. Our building manager apologized for the parking situation, it was Pride Weekend 2005 and parking was at a premium. We loved the neighborhood and building. Now this year, we walked to Pride, and got rained out in the process. But we did get to see Dykes on Bikes start the parade off as well as good chunk of the other people in the event. And then we walked a few short blocks home, happy to be this close to the parade route.

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There's a bit of a brouhaha over gay pride and culture between Duane and ATL Malcontent . I have a couple of of gay friends who have relocated from San Francisco to LA. Both academic professional, both have either had strained family relationships or have been completely disowned because of being gay. Like ATL Malcontent, they don't identify with pride parades, flaming queers and in-your-face activism.

To me this argument would be almost like being told I was a self-loathing straight guy because I didn't embrace the sex-and-spectacle event that was Spring Break in Daytona Beach. Having participated in one while in college, if that wasn't Straight Pride Week, then I don't know what was. When I told people that spring break was a miserable time, I got asked how I couldn't have had a great time with all the titty and beer. Because, it was retarded, full of drunk driving and watching people fuck in the parking lot of our hotel just didn't hold the same appeal for me as my roommates at the time. And yet I don't feel lesser for it.

Back to Duane, ATL Mal. and everyone else who has a stake in this conversation. My point is the sand box is big enough for everybody, be it Mary Cheney and log-cabin Conservatives, leather-loving bears to twinkle-fairy club kids, and every degree and moderation between. Variety, difference and dissension are all good things. And that holds true for every persuasion, orientation, social movement, religion and ethnic group.

And that's my 2 cents.

I Am What I Surf: or... If I Can't Remember It, Did It Really Matter?

I was surfing my usual websites, which include: Memeorandum, Arts & Letters Daily, Boing Boing, Drawn!, BibliOdyssey, and Largehearted Boy, amongst my many daily diversions.

My wife will peer curiously at me, relentlessly combing the Internet and ask with both curiosity and skepticism, "What are you looking at?" How to answer? These and many other sites offer daily introductions to things artistic, musical and technological. But what am I looking at? Many are blogs, or sites composed of contributing users that post their personal musings.


Hipster Intelligentsia,
trendy pursuits,
internet-enabled groupthink.

All these things capture the main attractions of my favorite sites. It like panning for gold, trying to tease little nuggets of goodness that I can bookmark, google, explore and put into a growing category of "Interesting Things." And the like-minded community of online enthusiast are more then able to provide a collection of intriguing leads. To a degree, these site do turn into an echo chamber, where each on has been turned on to the same thing at the same time, and reducing the actual amount of new things to read about.

Truth be told, if I was forced to slow down and was quizzed, I'd be often hard pressed to tell you what I actually read. Many times, I would only be able to tell you is that I felt like I worked hard and it was really enjoyable. If all the new tech news, trendy designs, cool mp3s, rediscovered Victorian prints, etc don't take hold in my memory, what was their worth.

I love me the internet and I spend so much time with it. Just trying to figure if a majority of that time is well spent.

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In the mean time....

I like
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
Daily Rotten
Copy, Right?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer Loving, Driving’s A Blast…

Atlanta’s driving stupidity always amazes. Today’s accident-in-the-making was seen on North Ave, while driving back from Georgia Tech. Heading east, both lanes are packed and slow moving, the usual. An impatient pickup truck pulls out into the traffic-free west-bound lanes, drives a block, goes onto the sidewalk as traffic starts towards the truck and ducks into Tech’s campus. Probably lasted all of 15 seconds, but stupid for all of them! Makes me wish my car was video equipped, I’d be posting dumb driving clips every day.

Interestingly enough, with all the damage New Orleans signs and traffic lights suffered, the drivers have compensated by becoming very polite and accommodating. Whenever there was a busted light, all the drivers assumed that it was a 4-way stop and took their turns. Same with blinking traffic lights, good manners prevailed. A big change from when I lived there.

Thankfully, Atlanta is still the same.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogger Boozing and Art Stuff in the ATL

Now that I'm back in town, I'm hitting the regular places for the sights and possible job ops. I'm also finding my first week back has a rather full calender.

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Yesterday... ATL Blogger Monthly Drinkfest

Blogger meetup with much drinking... a bloganalia. Like usual, much drinking, laughing, dirty looks, faux indignation and maybe some crushing on our server. I'm sure more details and incriminating pictures will be posted on One of the things that was worked on on our side of the table was a drink for Dave, who seemingly loves mustard.

"The Daily Dose"

A layered drink much like a Mind Eraser. Starting from the bottom layer up: mustard, Yager, Baileys, and chili-pepper oil floating on top. To be drunk with a straw. Yum!

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Today... Tom Zarrilli Artist Talk @ The Contemporary

The show was an extension of Tom Zarrilli's yard sale adventures, which he chronicles online at Yard Sale Addict. The show will end Saturday with a sale of most of the items on display, and a certificate of authenticity for each item. While only four people showed for the artist talk, it was an interesting one.

Also at the Contemporary, was Didi Dunphy's installation, "Recess Playscape."

It was far too much fun. The day before these pictures were taken , the skateboard room had 4 young kids on the skateboards, riding on their stomachs like motorized turtles yelling at their moms to time them as they raced across the gallery.

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Friday: ABC @ Earthlink Live

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Saturday: back to work for the Changchun Acrobatic Troupe at the Ferst Center.

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Sunday: The Pride Parade

Monday, June 19, 2006

Roadtrip Pictures

Here are some of the highlights of our summer trip. More to come when my Flickr account lets me put more pictures up.

2006 Summer Roadtrip - a photoset on Flickr

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hell, Yes! Part 2

Continuing in my love of vehicular foolishness, see the the second picture for a truck that goes with the TankChair I posted about in May.

Buy this on eBay...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Orleans and Now Back Home in Atlanta

It is now 5 am. We arrived home a few hours ago, but unpacking and foolish TV watching kept us up until now. The last stop on our trans-American trip was New Orleans. It was where I first moved to once out of college and was home for 7 years. The tales of Katrina’s devastation had me primed for something. And yet the visit didin’t have me feeling truly aware of the scope of things. We didn’t get to go around the city much, leaving the hardest hit areas unseen. On Magazine St. stores of all sort were open, and the trendy kids were out and about. Everything gave the feeling of recovery and strength. But it wasn’t the same city I left and I could’t resolve what I was seeing and what I knew was the truth of the city.

It was leaving the city and heading East that the scope of Katrina’s damage was more ev9odnt. The east was heavily hit. The ghost town apartment complexes and blocks of desolate homes were proof. Main, multi-lane streets were lightly traveled and business signs remains blank, broken and unlit.

While the roads were rough in New Orleans, it was a pothole on the I-10 that was fatal to a front tire. Which meant changing a tire while being blasted by traffic, an unexpected stop in Sliddel, La and 3 hour delay in getting back on the road while waiting for a new tire. The only benefit was an unexpectedly good Lebanese meal at a place whose's name escapes me.

There are many pictures to post and a few more stories to tell. Later… in future posts,

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Roadtrip East: The Sun Has Rize... The Sun Has Set...

... and here we is in Texas yet. Thanks to the trooper that pulled us over.

Otherwise we would have been able to make Shreveport, LA. But no!... I had to go the speed limit. Oh, well, at least I just got a warning. Probably got off easier then the guy we passed, who was Driving-While-Black. I'll be happy to be out of Texas.

Before leaving Amarrillo, we stopped by Cadillac Ranch.

non-scandinavian fins, originally uploaded by mslootheer.

The night before, we took a little side trip off of the I-40 in Tucumari, NM. Its one of those little towns that prospered when Route 66 was in its prime, but has since lost most of its businesses. But amongst the closed gas stations and motels was the Blue Swallow.

Blue Swallow Motel, originally uploaded by DancingElephant.

If we hadn't reserved a motel room in Amarillo, we would have stayed there in a heartbeat. The motel has only 11 rooms and each one has a garage attached. The owner even gave a us a tour of one of the rooms, cute! Even had vintage phones. After that, we had an amazing meal at Del's Restaurant. A steak dinner with all the fixings, saladbar, soup for $9.99. So much better then we would have had at the Denny's. And great service, highly recommended. Once again, it proves that its good to get off the highway.

Again, more pictures to be posted.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Roadtrip: Now in Flagstaff, AZ

Our last night in Vegas was great.

First, there was a surprisingly good Martin Mull painting retrospective at the Las Vegas Art Museum, with a celeb sighting of Penn Gillette. Following that, it was great Japanese food, sake and beer at Ichiza. After that it was a late-night visit to a great Korean bakery, where we ate tasty treats until midnight. Pictures were taken and will be posted.

We took off for Flagstaff noonish. It was strange to see the Vegas skyline in the rearview mirror. At the Hoover Dam security check-point we saw two big-horn sheep walking high above. We had never seen them before, very nice. A picture was taken.

Now we are in Flaggstaff for the night. We spent the evening with friends and their charming children. Yet more pictures.

And now, after 3 week without cable, we are taking in the glory that is Adult Swim.

Last Words Before Leaving Sin City: Letter to the Las Vegas Weekly

This will be the last post of the vacation. We leave tomorrow, and I will be killed if time is spent blogging rather then packing. So on that note, a last post about the Vegas art scene.

The Las Vegas Weekly had an article on the arts scene last week. Its moderately contentious take was that there was an arts rivelary, high-art vs. low-brow. That eternal debate will rage on as long as snotty kids and up-tight art patrons both grab at the last glass of free wine offered at art galleries.

I had to put my 2 cents. While I didn't get my letter to the editor published, the letters that did were pretty close to what I had to say. So, that being said, here's what I had to say...

"As a former art installer at the Las Vegas Art Museum and LV
Guggenheim, I had to comment. While no longer a resident, my return
to Vegas for a summer vacation has me seeing Vegas's cultural
offerings after a 9-month absence.

High culture/high art will always have a home in every city's art
scene because it is the most accomplished and engaging. But the
high-kitsch/pop culture quality the city is nationally known for is
one that local artists can pull inspiration from. Art collector Wally
Goodman once said while speaking at Godt-Cleary, "Collect what you
love." For many it is easy to love the widely-varied and
affordably-priced works that can be found on the street during First
Friday. As an owner of eight Shan Michael pieces (and one new
t-shirt, thanks Shan) I love his works and look forward to seeing his
continuing success.

I think it's great that there is an open marketplace for art in Vegas
that allows a purchase starting at $20. The variety of prices and
stylistic offerings is cultivating buyers of art who otherwise would
not be inclined or be able to afford such a expense. Young collectors
may turn into clients for the new higher-end galleries. And for those
complaining about the lowest common denominator attending their
openings, I heard no comment of how that is impacting their bottom
line. It's difficult to sympathize with their struggle; they can lock
their doors if they are so bothered.

It is encouraging to see the deep roots that the CAC, Arts Factory and
the Funkhouse have grown and maintained. Opening around these
established institutions and businesses are new generations of
additions, first like Dust and GC Arts, and now the Avant Arts
gallery, Holsum Lofts and Commerce Street Studios. Whoever their
target demographic, it is good that these venues are filling
storefronts within the Arts District and nearby areas.

Las Vegas will never turn into LA or NYC in terms of the broad
cultural offerings these cities have been developing for decades. But
I hear from friends that Libby Lumpkin is turning the Las Vegas Art
Museum into one worthy of being the city's representative museum.
Additionally, Vegas is host to both its own unique Guggenheim venue
and home to the Pinball Hall of Fame and the Atomic Testing Museum.
That unique diversity deserves some celebration.

After this vacation, I look forward to returning to Atlanta to be a
cheerleader for Las Vegas artists and galleries and an advocate for
the city as a worthwhile destination to those looking for an
unexpected place for culture and art."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Last Days of the Vegas Vacation: Retail Therapy At Ceasers

Caesars had built a large addition to its shops when we were living in Vegas, but we never visited before leaving. So, I made a point of stopping by, starting by leaving the car with the valet service. The interior is a blend of roman spectacle with all-American consumerism at full tilt. In other words, the prices of the goods in the shops had to pay for their ornate surroundings, which was a price I couldn't pay even if I was inclined to buy something.

On the left of the second picture are the spiral escalators. This had been one of the holy grails of moving engineering. One was attempted in 1906 for a London Tube stop, but it was scraped almost immediately after the station was first opened.

After a short tour, I left, a dollar poorer once I got my car back. I tipped the valet, adding I wouldn't have been so cheap but it was the end of my trip. I don't think she was expecting much from the owner of a '99 Ford Escort station wagon. The Lexus' and Mercedes around me would tip her well, leaving me guilt free.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Assorted Vegas Pictures

Truth in Advertising

Strange house that seems to covered in leftover marble countertop.

Great gates. Off of Eastern, on Twain Ave.

Hardcore gambling problems require a hardcore God!

Dray's Place, a collection of cottages slated for demolition. A shame to see them go, but I'm sure this place will be a springboard for more artistic success.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

First Friday in the Vegas Arts District

Every month there’s a big arts throwdown the first Friday of every month. For a short while, we walked Main St. taking in the few new galleries and murals that have appeared since we left Vegas. There’s some talk about the street carnival/low-brow nature of First Friday, with a concern that high culture isn’t enough of the night’s focus. But I love seeing all the people that wouldn’t be braving the summer heat otherwise. The diversity of people walking around means that there is broad appeal for the event, and its less likely to be affected by the fickle tastes of trendsetters and hipsters that seem to doom clubs and events in Vegas that are no longer in favor.

I didn’t expect to buy anything that night, but while walking by the new Avant Arts gallery, I bought this t-shirt…

And right before we left for the night, we ran in to local artist Shan Michael. We love his work and we bought 5 pieces a few years ago. Since then, he generously gave us 3 more, and I got a t-shirt that night from him…

All in all a good night that went by too quickly.

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Pictures from First Friday, June '06

The Artwork of Amy Sol at the Arts Factory.

Burning Man near the Funkhouse.

Mike Bigg's "Freak Baby" at the Avant Arts Gallery.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thursday: Back Again, Pinball and Mini-Golf

I grabbed my friend Matt on his day off and hit the Pinball Hall of Fame and mini-golf again. He had had a bad start to the day so the distractions seemed to help. Many quarters were spent and I wished the place had a t-shirt

One of Vegas’s latest addition to the art scene is the Holsum Lofts.
Built in the 50’s, the Holsum Bread factory was reclaimed as commercial space and now has a collection of galleries as some tenants. While walking through one, I ran into an old acquaintance, Paco Alverez. He has been a player in the local art scene and is now working at the Neon Museum. It was great to catch up on the politics, and general news I had missed since moving. More good galleries are opening and the arts district looks healthy. Nice to see.

One of the Neon Museum’s major coups was the saving of a local modernist hotel landmark. Destined to be destroyed to make room for condos, the La Concha’s distinctive foyer will now be relocated on site of the future Neon Museum property. Vegas has lost much of its historic architecture and this was a rare win for preservationist.

After leaving Holsum Lofts, Matt and I were joined by my wife and at the nearby Tinoco’s. Housed in the Art’s Factory, this was our first visit for all of us. The meals were excellent. I had a veal, steak and chicken dish. Pounded flat and grilled, it was served on black rice and field mushrooms, with a mild sauce on top. Seriously wonderful.

Matt called it a night, and we met up with friends at the Sidebar, near Fremont St. The area around the heart of old Vegas is slowly coming up, scary enough to keep most people away but edgy enough to reward those who do. Sidebar is beautiful inside, with drink prices reflecting the classier décor. The bar is on a block being redeveloped by the new owners of the Lady Luck. That casino/hotel is in the closed renovation, but the free valet parking is still being run for the bar patrons and area visitors. It’s a nice service by the hotel owners, a convenience that makes that area’s lack of parking less of a concern.

Our friend Donald loves indie/new music, is a virtual ambassador to the city and knows lots of folks. Which was how we got to talk to Ronnie, the drummer for The Killers, when we first sat down. They had attended the We Are Scientist show at the Celebrity, and the two Killers who were there watched the show unmolested. People desperate for celebrity sighting are usually in the casinos, while someone with a high profile can do their thing downtown with a good chance of being left alone. Donald said We Are Scientist put on a really good show. Vegas had a big problem with a lack of venues for new bands with small but growing buzz. Often LA or Salt Lake City were the only places for music fans who didn’t want to spend $200 a ticket at a casino on an aging rock band or dance divas that refuse to retire. The Celebrity has been showing good bands recently, but Donald is worried that that may change for the worst.

I give the evening an A+. Hooray for good places that aren’t in casinos!