Saturday, February 15, 2014

All The Cool Stuff That Fits One Bag With A Little Help From My Friends

Last issue of Frog Magazine where yours truly has 2 articles

When I came out with suffering from depression I had no idea so many people would reach out to me and be so supportive. It's a hard thing to live with, and in between migraines, having undergone brain trauma and this, let me tell you there's a painful crowd constantly living in my head. But seeing that so many people cared and took the time to help was immensely uplifting. In addition to many sweet messages I've received quite a few things in the mail over the last few months which I thought I should share with you, also as a way to publicly thank my friends. Above is a copy of the latest Frog Magazine with 3 articles on Mike Kelley inside including two from yours truly, which are edited versions of posts previously published here. I linked to the page where you can buy copies online as well as where bookstores that carry the magazine internationally are listed. Eric Troncy who's the editor of the magazine sent me that copy while I'm waiting for the publisher to send me some additional ones.

Here's a bird-eye view (and bad photo, sorry!) of everything I've received recently: a Freitag bag that can contain everything else you see in the picture above including Frog mag, two books, two LPs and a mystery jar. There's a list below so you have a better idea.

This is the catalog for the traveling Mike Kelley retrospective, originated in Amsterdam by the great Ann Goldstein, and that traveled to PS1 in NYC and is soon to open in LA at MOCA. Courtesy of my super buddy Grant Wahlquist who's responsible for this great new blog you should all put in your bookmarks.

Then my friend Stephanie Theodore who owns this gallery brought me this when she came to stay overnight in between London and Amsterdam. You can find almond butter here but not crunchy, unsalted and unsweetened almond butter. I love this stuff which I can never have enough of. better than Nutella if you ask me. Also I think if TJ's were to develop in Europe (as should Target and Crate & Barrel) they would make a killing. Similarly, Picard Surgel├ęs should invade the US market.

Years ago I met the Irish artist Niamh O'Malley at a show I co-curated along with 11 other people in Luxembourg. We maintained a long-distance friendship over the next few years. She's a good artist and a lovely lady and this is the second book she has sent me since I started FBC!.

I still manage to listen to music sometimes and alongside my well-documented love for John Cale and Scott Walker I like other things, such as psychedelic music and ethereal lady singers, and so for Christmas my brother and sister got me the latest Wooden Shjips album as well as the one by Rachel Zeffira (couldn't get a good picture of this one, sadly).

One of my friends who's been extraordinarily supportive is St├ęphane Saclier who kindly sent me a bunch of things including this really extraordinary messenger bag made by Freitag, a Swiss company. I'm totally in love with it for many reasons, including the fact that everything you see above in the first photo fits into it, as evidenced by the photo below.

The main characteristics of the bag is that it's made entirely out of recycled materials, namely the kind of tarp used to cover trucks here in Europe, and the strap is made out of a recycled seat belt, while velcro bands are used to close the bag shut. As a result you get an extraordinarily sturdy bag, and this particular model I got is expandable, so you can use it to go grocery shopping, or carry your laptop and various electronics, or your flea market haul of books and vinyl records easily. The only caveat I think is that it smells of plastic but as mine is brand new I expect the smell to subside in a few weeks. One of the things I really like about it, aside from the fact that it's spacious, waterproof, sturdy and stylish is that because the strap is made out of a seatbelt it is also expandable and so you can wear it on any shoulder comfortably. Which is great when one of your shoulders has been damaged in a car accident, this way I can use the opposite one and there's no risk of the bag slipping off.
It has one front pocket that is covered by the main flap, and because you need to undo the velcro to open both the flap and the front pocket there is no chance a pickpocket could try to help themselves without you being alerted by the noise. You will tell me you're not worried about pickpockets which is a rare event in the United States, but here in Europe it's a scourge.
 When I received the bag and realized how much I could expand it (double it's vertical length thanks to 2 inside flaps) I thought this would be a perfect carry-on purse for    flights, because it would still fit under the front seat and I could  carry many records, books and my laptop plus snacks and water, etc.

So thanks to everybody who's been so kind and generous to me. It helps keep me afloat when I'm in the pits, and reminds me what a lucky person I am to have you in my life.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Introducing FBC! Lite

My cat made the cutest little arrangement with her toys. I always knew she was a genius

Like most everybody, we at the FBC! headquarters are possessed with opinions and assholes (I say most everybody in the eventuality some people might not have assholes, and I feel truly sorry for them).   Which, like most everybody, makes us also be some  assholes sometimes or even often, how would we know?

But whatever our opinions, there are times when we don't really want to expand on them for too long nor write for an effing amount of time because life's too short. So, we've decided to start a new series of posts that will all go under the headline "FBC! Lite" and that will mostly consist in putting down some links that you will have to click through if interested, and a few lines above or below to just state our opinions. Which are not open for debate in the sense that, if you wish to debate yourself in comments more power to you, but we won't engage with you at all (see above "life's too short"). Also the images chosen to illustrate the post will be totally random.

So, the links today are about "ethical shopping" and "charity shops killing the high street". Yours truly is all for ethical shopping and also believes that artists, writers, musicians, designers, dancers, actors, etc. should be paid fairly for their work and its diffusion and distribution.
But I think at the bottom of this the real problem is that EVERYBODY who isn't the 1% has seen wages either stagnate or plunge down over the last 20+ years or so (I've certainly seen my own writer fees go steadily downhill over 20 years). Therefore, if all your income is swallowed by the high cost of housing, health care and transportation  (as well as caring for other persons) then there is very little left for us to actually buy items that are affordable and of decent quality. We can all afford to be ethical shoppers when we get higher salaries, and real jobs that pay for the unemployed. Until then, newspaper that publish this kind of crap are just being assholes themselves. They'd better campaign for fairer wages across the board.

Then there is that ongoing personal war being waged in the media by people who I believe could afford to go to court to maybe once and for all settle their grudges? I want to be perfectly clear that I find child abuse and any kind of abuse abhorrent, and that Woody Allen is a grossly overrated filmmaker at best.
But, uh, all these op-eds and interviews and Twitter wars give me the creeps.
 I don't know if there's a status of limitation or other legal reasons that prevent the injured parties to sue, but if there isn't, please, please, please do this. Thanks.
If Mr. Allen is found guilty then he should certainly be punished to the full extent of the law. But all this media circus isn't really helping the cause of abused children, I believe. I understand that going through a trial is harrowing, but I don't know if the continuous media attention is that healthy either? I've seen a bunch of posts on Twitter about believing  this person and that person on this issue. I don't know if "beliefs" can really help justice. Maybe the law is imperfect, but it serves a function, and maybe a lawsuit would be the best tool for the family to find closure?

On a much, much lighter note, I saw this article this morning about "performance anxiety" but really it's about stage fright. Yours truly is afflicted when teaching and doing public lectures. So my heart goes to all the people who have to go onstage for a living, mostly musicians and actors but also teachers. If you've ever experienced anything like this, then you will understand. Which is why, whenever you attend a public performance of some sort, please don't boo the people onstage even if you think they suck. It won't make the play/concert/performance/lecture any better, far, far from it. Just be polite and silently exit the premises if what you're seeing is terrible.