Saturday, December 28, 2013


her dream:

i was in her room changing things. i was painting michael jackson all over the walls in pink and she didn't like it. when she tried to protest it was clear that she had no choice in the matter and that we were very upset with her. so she tried to run. luca chased her and she ran all the way down to the basement, found a place to hide in the dvd cellar.

my dream:

i discovered that her old room was still there, just behind our small and inadequate kitchen. it was pink, with a smallish white day bed, pictures of friends that she hadn't talked to in years (actually, old patients of mine) and little torn pieces of metallic paper hung from the walls that made everything sparkle. i found things that had been left in there that had gotten moldy. i presented 3 options to luca: 1) we turn the room into a den with a couch, a desk and a tv 2) we expand the kitchen to encompass both spaces or 3) turn it into a guest room. he is intrigued by the idea of a den, but she doesn't like any of this, wants to keep her room there just the way it is. / then there are people over from my brother-in-law's family, drinking wine and standing around talking. i am becoming increasingly panicky. then i start to see snakes in the kitchen, little ones at first and then some rather large ones. no one else seems remotely aware of all this, but she is afraid. i tell her they can't come upstairs (even though i know that's not true from my own dreams) and i start slicing the snakes open with a sharp kitchen knife. i can see their flesh open up and blood begin to pour out.

Monday, December 16, 2013

(like luca,) john waters (also) teaches joy

when i was a lonely teenage girl treading the vacant waters of suburban malaise, john waters showed up in the form of serial mom and led me onto shores i had never imagined. this happened many times over throughout my adolescence and early 20's, but john waters was a special discovery. i remember going to school the morning after watching kathleen turner bludgeon pearl from diff'rent strokes with a rack of lamb because she didn't rewind her video tapes. suddenly the little things that had made me feel insecure or frustrated seemed utterly inconsequential. i was filled with a kind of delirious glee. in the weeks that followed i rented out his entire filmography from tla, taking particular pleasure in the character of dawn davenport from female trouble, played of course by the incomparable divine, and  knitting my eyebrows in bewildered delight whenever mink stole was on the screen.

in college i learned that john waters had written some books, so i eagerly snatched up copies of crackpot and shock value from this new website called, returning to them over and over again whenever i was feeling low. his essay "puff piece," which catalogues 101 things he loves, was a favorite. i couldn't help but feel awakened by the maniacal joy he takes in the strange and obsessional worlds of his idols. and what an amazing surprise to find out that he loved marguerite duras and violette leduc as much as i did and that my dalliances in the true crime section of borders were nothing compared with his total immersion into the lives of bizarre and sadistic criminals.

what i love most about john waters is his wide and fanatical love of the arts. he has not only led to me countless films, books and visual artists through his irresistible descriptions - "if ingmar bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, [antichrist] is the movie he would have made" - he has affirmed my attraction to the crazy ones, reminding me again and again that life need not be bound by the shackles of conformity. john waters is a healer.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

grover and co.

got some new books for the little bear with some barnes and noble gift cards that i guess my mom forgot to give out at hanukkah. left with the following array of childhood favorites, timely classics and caldicott winners:

Saturday, December 14, 2013


recently came across the work of joan semmel in an issue of artNews that someone donated to my studio. i recognized the work from having seen a couple of her paintings in this 'erotic art' book that at got at a borders bin in high school. the images in that book were distinctive because they depicted the human body from a subjective stance, something i hadn't seen before:

it's always strange when you start googling things that interested you in your pre-internet days, like you suddenly realize you have access to something that you assumed was only available through mental recall. anyway, a quick search took me to this series of sexually explicit paintings:

i found these to be the most interesting images in semmel's body of work. unlike the earlier studies where the scenes were constructed from the point of view of the subject, here the gaze hovers just behind and slightly above the figures, almost as if we were watching unseen from beside the bed. and yet the voyeuristic elements are undercut by the abstracting compositions that delight in the shapes that the coupled bodies make. the colors too seem interested in the particular hues of each body's skin tone and the harmonies that are created as they intermingle. i especially love the deep contrast in that last one of the icy blue, warmish yellow and fire engine red. however, despite the studied and assertive formal emphasis, the paintings are not emotionally detached. though we see barely see the faces of her subjects, the language of their bodies offer lovely and frank expressions of desire and intimacy. her inclusion of feet is particularly endearing. i can't imagine seeing bare feet in pornographic material, unless they were being fetishized. 

here is another erotic image with an overlay of a transparent figure. i don't particularly understand where she is coming from with this one, but i love the colors.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

love is won

when all of the judgment and hurt are stripped away, this remains. this is what drew me in and lit me up:

O you know I need your mystic mind
For you are leading us towards the un-blind
We know that magic is a part of life
Love is won when we aren't bound by time

When we have animals, we'll start a tribe
you'll be the shepherd as we all head towards the un-blind
Fell into the fault and now we feel too deep
O Love is won when we're bound and still feel free

A puzzle planted on the forest floor has grown tall by now
Forever is asleep it is a tiny jewel in the tiger mouth
I'm walking in the woods, I'm looking for the one
And I'm about to pounce so I can tame the cat,
So I can find the myth and let forever out.

I could fall into a valley so low
O love is won when we don't need free to grow
We can go higher says your mystic mind
Unbind the time and go on up towards the un-blind

A puzzle planted on the forest floor has grown tall by now
Forever is asleep it is a tiny jewel in the tiger mouth
I'm walking in the woods, I'm looking for the one
And I'm about to pounce so I can tame the cat,
So I can find the myth and let forever out.