Thursday, April 24, 2008

Your Social Life At Home and Slightly Outside Of It Too

So I guess some of you are going on a gruesome trip to Indio (where the hell is that???) to attend Coachella. I'm so out of it I thought it was in June, so you see how old I am. Anyway, if you go, you're probably youngish, even though old foggie Prince and Über-old foggies Kraftwerk will be there, as well as a few French acts if you want to turn exotic (The Teenagers, Les Plasticines, Dimitri From Paris, Justice), as well as former Housemartins Norman (ex-Quentin) Cook a.k.a Fatboy Slim. And a bunch other stuff (Vampire Weekend, Death Cab For Cuties, The Bird And The Bee ) and I don't remember what else. I'm tired just thinking about it. Gosh, there's even the Verve, how symphonically boring is that?
Anyway, kiddies, don't forget the sunscreen and bottle water, OK?

So if you're a crusty grown up, or an art person, it's likely you're going to stay in town like me! And right you are, since Saturday will be the opening of Jonathan Herder at Daniel Weinberg, yeepee! 6 to 8 PM, bring your friends, children, grandmother, and that cute guy you met at your local happy hour, it will be grand. If you're at Coachella, send your BFF over 6150 Wilshire, your BFF's own BFF ('cause you know, it's rarely reciprocal), their Facebook pals (your Myspace ones are likely with you in Indio), your extended network as well as your six degree of separation, experiment or not. Jonathan Herder is THE opening to go to, the show you have to see and the art you should buy (and yes, he is a very good pal of FBC!).
Aside from Jon there's the Kaprow re-enactment of Fluids. I've already said everything I had to say about it, but I want to signal the part done at the Getty by the LA Art Girls (with the lovely Nancy Popp).
So this weekend will be spent in your car, since you should also go see the excellent Phantom Sightings show at LACMA (as well as the Ensor show curated by the current Wallis Annenberg Fellow, more about that later) AND go to Glendale if you haven't done so to see the Aram Moshayedi-curated exhibition.

If you want to try to re-enact a Cochella-like marathon, but transposed into the artworld, you can add the Kara Walker show at the Hammer to your busy weekend, as well as the Lawrence Weiner show at the Geffen. The good news is you will spend lots of time in your car, but you won't have to be covered in sunscreen from head to toe nor to mingle with smelly kids who are not allowed to drink yet (but they score, I guess).

You can hone your survivalist instincts, art-style, next Wednesday evening by foraging for fallen fruit in Silverlake with these cool people. I'll try to be there if I can combine it with a previous engagement.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Attention Bloggers! Britannica Is Here to Help You Smash Wikipedia

If you read me regularly you know how much I loathe wikipedia (a simple search though the blog will show you a few swipes I've written at it), otherwise known as Ouiquipedia, the monstrous so-called resource written by airhead bipeds, along the principle "Oui qu'il l'a dit Robert, donc c'est vrai" ("If Robert said it it must be true"). I personally prefer Encyclopedie Universalis, being French, but their website/CD system in a major pain in the ass to use, especially their customer service/support system (I'm still waiting for that missing CD-ROM).
Anyway, I've learned today the Encyclopedia Britannica was giving one-year free access to register bloggers, after a 48-hours vetting period. All the information you need is here.
I'm glad there will be now a resource that's accessible through links, and a serious one to boot, written by real scholars and professionals, so no more egregious mistakes, misquotations, wring dates and so forth.
In passing, my blog is still ad-free, so I couldn't possibly buy a monthly subscription, but I think ad-supported sites would do well to pay for access to the EB: it cost money to put together a real, scientifically organized, regularly updated, copy-edited and verified encyclopedia whether it's on paper or online.
But whether you're ad-supported or not, bloggers unite and check if you can get that registration. It's worth it.

Happy Earth Day To Me And You

Hello Everybody!

My little Frenchy self is jumping up and down (well, not while I type) with over-excitement!
because you know what? Today is Earth Day! And it's also my twin sister's B-Day (Joyeux anniversaire la France et le reste du mooooooooonde!), and so it's mine too! I'm turning forever 29!
It's also little Nina's B-Day, and to make me even happier I just learned today my friends Sal and Julie Anne are going to have a baby girl this summer!
So happy everything everyone, don't forget to kiss God's Green Earth, have a nice French pastries while thinking about me, frolic in the sun, whatever, but be happy!
You're welcome to shower me with gifts, affection, and sweet message but I don''t need one of these to be happy, OK?

Pat Fish's song isn't really about God's Green Earth and is probably melancholic for a B-Day, but I like his music so much...

Have a nice day everybody, and keep on being your awesome sweet selves!

PS: Blogger doesn't want me to post pictures today, so sorry.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Some Wordly Possessions To Make You Happy (But Only If You Live In The US)

In my quest to do less art posts and more other stuff, here's some news (via Boing Boing)! If you're a gun owner, you're among the happiest people in the US! Isn't that unbelievable!
I think it's been scientifically proven by myself (let's take Obama out of it for one minute, OK?) that if you own a gun and are not a hunter/Olympic competitor you're probably a) a jerk, b) a moron and c) an irresponsible person and d) you may even own a SUV to boot.

While not all jerks/morons/irresponsible people are all in all happy (I know some moronic, irresponsible jerks SUV owners who are miserable), it's very likely they are a) more selfish, b) more self-centered, c) more self-absorbed than the rest of the population (i.e. nice, non-violent people). Egotistical egomaniacs, in one word, are not concerned with others' welfare, but more focused on their very own little self-interest (that may include their loved ones, it's still connected to their own self and not to the sense of preserving the whole community at large). So, yeah, if you don't care about others, you're more likely to be happier since other people's hardships, pain, grief and troubles are absolutely zero to you.

BUT, are you going to tell me, what if there's some truth in it? Would gun ownership make you happier? Would it automatically increases your chances to get tons of dates with hot chicks/studs, win the Mega Millions, build a McMansion, own a Back Painting by Frank Stella, or even have sex with Daniel Craig??? Should you buy a gun? And if so, what if you're scared, scared of firearms (like my own little Frenchy self)?
Not to worry, I have a solution: get yourself a toy gun that fires little flags, and customize your flags with "make love not war" slogans, put a rainbow flag on it, make them fire confetti petals and so forth. You will then leave the majority (64% of US households don't own guns, yay!) but will have found a peaceful, non-violent resolution to gun ownership.
Now, confidential to Obama: once you're President, please get Congress to pass a law to make my type of guns replace all the real ones around here. It will be more fun, and pretty!!!! And you will have the American people peacefully engaged in the pursuit of happiness. Fits with your Constitution, no?

Picture found here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Egg Is An Egg Is An Egg

There have been too many art posts on FBC! recently, and many more to come, so I thought you needed a bit of a pause. Food pause, to be more precise. It's Spring, a bit late for Easter recipes or such like, but a few recent discussions with friends about eggs got me thinking.
First of all, I want to debunk the (presumably US) food myth that was served to me on the night of the Kaprow opening by the few friends I was with: eggs don't contain fat. What they contain that is bad for you is cholesterol. Which isn't a lipid.
I was aghast when all these well-meaning people told me eggs were very, very fatty, as in France , if you happen not to have a cholesterol problems, eggs are touted as the perfect health food, especially if you eat them boiled. So I double-checked in a few food books I have and on a few nutrition websites, and here you are: no fat in egg yolks (or white).

Anyway, eggs are among my favorite food stuff on earth, but I regularly fail at making good omelets or scrambled eggs, I suppose because I love my eggs very runny. It's OK, because I like my eggs very simple, so I'm not going to give you a recipe for oeufs en meurette, but just tell you how to make perfect soft-boiled eggs, the French way.

First of all, we don't eat eggs for breakfast in France, and soft-boiled eggs tend to be the thing you eat at dinner when you don't have a blasted idea what to cook. Usually we eat a simple salad of greens with it, a few fruits for dessert, and that's it.
But what is very, very important, is that we eat mouillettes with our eggs: strips of sliced baguette that we dip into the yolk. It's divine.
Some people like to make it fatty by buttering their mouillettes, or dunking strips of sliced ham in the yolk, or adding some salmon roe (FYI: all fish roes are not caviar. Caviar is sturgeon roe and only that). It's more luxurious, but I tend to see it as a way to ruin a perfectly good runny yolk.

Now there are many ways to screw up something as simple as soft-boiled eggs: cook them 10 seconds too long and the yolk will be overcooked, take them out 10 seconds too early and the whites are translucently repulsive. Do you have to let your eggs at room temperature before cooking them (the answer is yes, for 10 minutes)? Should you salt the water (no) or put vinegar in it to prevent breakage (it doesn't work and your egg tastes like vinegar)? At what time should you sink them into the water, when it's simmering, boiling? For how long?
So after many years of trial and errors, I've found the perfect way to cook soft-boil eggs. It's better to cook only 2 at a time, otherwise some of them will be overcooked.

First, go to La Maison du Pain to buy one of their ficelles (plain). Once in possession of your precious egg accomplice, cut it horizontally in approximately 1 1/2 inches logs. Then slice these logs lengthwise in strips. Put these in a cute glass or container, pour faire plus joli.
Take your egg cups out of the cupboard. During all the time these preparations took, you took 2 eggs out of the fridge and let them come up at room temperature. Put them in a small pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Check the pot, as you have to count down exactly 2 minutes once the water reaches boiling point. When your timer scares the Beejeezus out of your cat, switch off the gas, retrieve your 2 precious eggs out of the water and put them in the egg holders. Immediately remove the 2 egg tops: if you don't do this they will keep on cooking and the yolks will harden.
Dunk your mouillettes into the yolk, eat, have a glass of wine and enjoy the perfection of life. Merci qui? Merci Frenchy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who In The Wide World Reads Los Angeles City Beat?

So in the post below I refer to a stupid review of the Phantom Sightings show published in the LA CityBeat. Which got me thinking: does anyone read that rag? For real? I think over the last 4 years I must have picked it up twice while I was running out of reading material at the coffee shop. I don't recall anything I've ever read in it, so it's thin. I tend to think of it as the Weekly poor cousin, something that might subsist only because (maybe) their advertising rates are lower than the aforementioned concurrent publication.
So I thought, let's start a contest! There are two questions:

1) If you read City Beat for real, where do you do it? On the toilet? At the dentist? While waiting for your shrink appointment? Do you use it as packing material for fragile items? To wash your windows? When you run out of toilet paper? Out of desperation when I haven't updated FBC! for 3 weeks and you need a alphabet fix?
2) How do you think it's financed? Does it have better-thinly-concealed porn advertisements than the Weekly? Do unlicensed dentists and plastic surgeons way up in the Valley place placards there ("Dr P. Niss can extend your schlong up to a meter!" "2 fake boobs for the price of one if you sign up for our Botox package!"). Is it the repository for super cheap futon and ugly furniture stores addresses? Is it financed by Eli Broad arch-nemesis (and who is that?)

The most original, funny entry will win either a coffee and pastry with me at La Maison du Pain, or his/her weight in current issues of City Beat (works only if you're anorexic/a SAG actress). If you can answer the subsidiary question below, I will also treat you to my "The History Of The Last 5 Years Of LA Art In 5 Minutes" during our coffee date meeting.

Subsidiary question: is there an art critic at City Beat, and if yes is it someone we know? ( a recent grad from Art Center now-defunct Critical Theory program doesn't count).
Please enter all your suggestions/entries in the comments section.
If you're male, send me a recent picture of you with measurements (naked, of course), this may help for our coffee.

Real Presences At Phantom Sightings

So almost 2 weeks ago I went with a very talented painter (Hi Ivan!) to the opening of Phantom Sightings at LACMA, the most exciting show I've seen in a long time at a Los Angeles Museum. And I don't say that because the lead curator of the exhibition, Rita Gonzalez, is a close friend of mine. I honestly was a bit weary before going, as I am with many identity-based show concepts ("Post-Chicano art"), and also because there were 3 curators involved (Howard Fox and Chon Noriega were the 2 other ones) and it's always difficult to find a good balance between several curators choices, tastes and interests. In addition, I know very little about Chicano/Latino art, aside from my occasional visits to shows and my already professed admiration for Ruben Ochoa (museums everywhere, collect this guy NOW). So I thought it was outside of my area of expertise, which was a totally stupid prejudice or stereotype, as it is a contemporary art exhibition, my chosen specialty.

So we walked into the exhibition space in what used to be the Anderson building, and wow! Weren't we blown away! I've come back to the museum again last week to see the show (re: wow) and BCAM, and clearly Phantom Sightings is a winner 9BCAM, on the other hand...). It's smart, beautifully, perfectly installed, there are many artists and works I've discovered, and the identity part isn't propaganda-like but functions in every single work as art, beautifully integrated and meaningful without being overbearing and aggressive or guilt-tripping. I'm waiting for my long-anticipated lunch and walk-through with Rita to really write a review, and I also want to get the press packet and read the catalogue so I don't write egregious mistakes about artists or dates. I also want to refute that stupid article: granted, no one reads City Beat (at least no one I know. Do you know anyone who reads it? Let's start a contest!), but it seems the person writing is well-known, if scandalously ignorant about art stuff. Very arrogant and condescending too: having gone on a date at the Norton Simon doesn't make anyone an art lover or an art expert. She writes well, much better than I will ever dream to, but wrong tooth to pick Honey! You're a bit late on the LACMA-bashing. I think what you need is take your dates to Disneyland, you would be more comfortable there, seeing that you come from the OC (yes, I'm in a bad mood too, it's IRS day today!).

[While I'm in a bad mood, I want to retaliate: one of my former colleagues scooped me at the opening and told a guard as I was taking pictures without flash, as is allowed and indicated at the entrance. I'm slightly pissed off you (because I know exactly who you are): a) didn't ask me directly to stop taking pictures. That was lame and cowardly. What were you afraid of? Did I ever bite you? and: b) got a guard involved: it's an impossible situation for them to have one of their superior telling them to prevent pictures from being taken while there are signs telling the public it is allowed and: c) you're not even the curator of the show, didn't bother to check whether it was OK or not, which is very condescending and arrogant. Next time, ask me directly, if it makes you uncomfortable I will stop. Mind you, I asked the curator if it was OK and she helpfully told me yes and I did read that sign, so I got my bases covered, and you did not. So, screw you.]

Meanwhile, you my faithful FBC! readers have all the time in the world to see the show, and you should really do it because it's one of the most intelligent show to end all the identity/post-identity politics exhibition concepts to come, and you will enjoy seeing some of my faves: Ken Gonzalez-Day (beautiful), Ruben Ochoa, Juan Capistran, Ruben Ortiz-Torres and the woman whose name escape me (I need that press package, dammit), who does role-playing B&W photographs. So more on the show later, and here are a few pics I took at the opening.
As usual, the vertical one is sideways, thanks to Blogger and its uploading pix tool.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Here's My New Babe

Sorry I've let you downfor a few days, my beloved, devoted readers,

FBC! has been busy buying a car (yay!) and is still busy procrastinating doing her taxes (pffff). I'm taking my new baby to the DMV tomorrow and then to my mechanic for minor fixes, and then I'll post about Phantom Sightings (Go! Go! Go!) and Royal T, the "Japanese maid cafe" in Culver City. And because there have been too many posts about art recently, I'll put up a few recipes, and possibly some book reviews, maybe all mashed up in one post.

Meanwhile, I'm sure that, like me, you are frantically finishing up your own tax return, so have fun! and reward yourself with something good once you're done.
Meanwhile, have fun with the poll at the bottom of the page!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Your Social Life at Home

Wow, load of stuff to do this week!

Such as this Friday, April 4th, Julie Lequin will be doing a reading (yeah right, it's a performance) at Skylight books at 7:30pm @ Skylight books,
1818 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 660-1175
And right after you can go get plastered and listen to Marty and Elaine at the Dresden.
I'm trying to find a magic carpet and a ride there. Anyone?

You can also go to LACMA, and instead of going all corporate at BCAM, attend the symposium attached to the most fabulous exhibition FBC! went to the opening of (and lost her grammar en route to), Phantom Sightings! Check the images that go with this post, and if it's illegible try the LACMA website.

You can also go to Glendale if you haven't done it already and check the Silence Of Infinite Space show. Or catch the Michael Asher show at SMMOA before it closes in a week or so. There's still Kara Walker at the Hammer, and the FBC!-not-attended-yet-but-dying-to-go-soon Mungo Thomson show at Margo Leavin. There's the California Video show at the Getty (ditto not having been able to go to yet), Wangechi Mutu at my favorite LA gallery, Mindy Shapero show ending at Anna Helwing, James Welling closing at Regen Projects. There's also the current show at LACE which I haven't seen but looks promising, same as Keith Holbrook at David Patton. There's Justin Beal at Acme, and you probably know about Mark Bradford's project at Steve Turner gallery.
Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Attention All Art People! How Do I Get Featured On FBC?

Hello, My Dear Beloved, Devoted Readership,

I've been receiving more and more announcements, emails, questions over the last 4 or 5 months, often asking how the senders could be featured on FBC! So I feel it's now the time to remind you of a few things and explain some others.


1. This blog started literally by accident, after I got immobilized by post car-crash whiplash last Summer. It is NOT primarily an art blog, even though there must be a ratio of 75% art-related content here. I have a few non-art readers, and many of those couldn't care less about who's swapping jobs where and what terrible thing such-and-such museum did. So bear with me and with them, I feature stuff here and there that's not visual. Like, Food Porn, books reviews, and my fabulously interesting take on French-US politics, the economy, whatever. You'll find them in the archives.
2. So far, you must have noticed there are no banners, GoogleAds or commercial advertisement on this blog. Therefore I am not making money out of it, so I don't spend all my wakeful moments updating it. Meaning, I may not have the time/energy/opportunity to announce your show or review it.
3. The corollary is... don't try to bribe me! Yes, I'm presently unemployed, but not that desperate that offers of free lunch or dinner are going to make me want to see your gallery, show, performance, book, and review it.
4. This is a one-woman, unpaid operation. I do other things during the day, and writing takes time. Sometimes I don't feel like it.
5. If you read FBC! regularly, you've seen I distribute my opinions freely, and when I don't like something I'm quite vocal about it. So, if I don't review your show...maybe it's better that way!

OK, but HOW DO I GET ON FBC!, are you going to tell us or what???

1. You're my friend. It makes it more likely I'm aware of what you're doing, and as such you have my priority. I usually signal so-and-so is my friend when I write, so everybody knows where I'm standing, and that I'm likely to be biased.
You can try to befriend me on Facebook (I'm too old and too clothed to be a Myspace gal) but it won't guaranty a spot here. Being a friend of a friend of my cousin 7 times removed, on the contrary, won't work. I had enough of your type thrown in my face when I worked in a gallery, thank you. (Note to artists trying to get a gallery: don't force your entry into the staff offices. EVER)
2. Your work is very, very good. Interesting. Challenging. Fun. Innovative. And, most importantly, I HAVE SEEN IT IN PERSON. There are dozens and dozens of works I may find interesting if I read about them, but if I don't see them I feel disqualified to write about it.
This being said, feel free to send me links to your website, I'll have a look, bu I can't promise I'll review you.
3. You are sending me really sweet and cute emails (Hi Natascha!), messages and comments. Or really fun. And it makes me want to help you out, whether I know you or not, have seen your work or not. What doesn't work is sending me abrasive, aggressive messages. Irony or sarcasm are best reserved for your own entourage, and please avoid stuff that smacks of desperation, such as "and this is my last resort before I end up on welfare".
Hmm, no. You can get a job, being a self-supportive artist may be a goal but it's not a birthright. Besides, FBC! is just a local blog, not Artforum's frontpage or the Marian Goodman's booth at Miami Basel.
4. Whatever you send me, please do it at least a week before your event happens. So I may get a chance to include it in "Your Social Life". And send me a low-rez jpeg or two, but please NO PDFs announcements. Send me your press release in the body of your email, or as an attached Word doc. Thanks!
5. If you were not announced or featured... don't send me reproachful, aggressive emails. It won't help your case for next time. Your email may have ended up in my Spam box, I may not have had time to write or post, or... your work really doesn't really fit FBC! Would you send old-fashioned figurative watercolors to a gallery that only shows installations and sculptures? I'm sure you get the point.


1. Yes! Definitively! You don't even have to be my friend. But you have to email me a few weeks prior, tell me what you want to write about. Say a show in LA or NYC or in Europe, but I'm even more interested in things that happen outside of the art world navel-gazing capitals. So if you're out there in Brazil, in South Dakota or else, I'd welcome your posts. As long as: you can write and spell, at least as badly as I do, and you send me images you've taken yourself or have copyrights-released, and tell me if you're friend with the person you're reviewing. And no plagiarism as well as no press-release copies.
2. You can also guest blog about non-art stuff. Music, books, comics, vernacular culture, curios, TV, American Idol, movies, food. It's fine, as long as you respect the rules above.

Meanwhile...thanks for reading FBC! It's been amazing to see the wide response to my amateurish little blog, and to meet my readers in person. I don't know how long the blog will last and it's likely it will stop when I regain a full-time occupation. I enjoyed the warm welcome and reception, so thanks everybody!