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Notes on Looking, July 29, 2010

Hello and a cheery day to you, There are some things we simply can’t predict, my friends. Take a look around yourself now and pay attention to what’s there while you may. It can all change in the twinkling of an eye. Our weekend in the country was wondrous. Everyone had a blast. I took no pictures, but I do have a clear vision of driving across the California Valley on 7 Mile Road: I saw, in the July heat,  mounded gray-green plant matter rising above the several shades of gold that colored dried grasses, thin-stick plants and the ground. Occasionally we crossed fingers of dusty white residue which radiated out from a dry soda lake bed – all that remained of a spring flood. There’s profound meaning waiting for me here in no-man’s-land. Time is longer than back home, and a moment can last as long as I let it. The experience eludes me until I quiet my own desires and relax my guard. Suddenly then I don’t need anything – what I hear, see and smell keeps me. Despite the late in July date we are currently inundated with things to do and see. Eek. And you’ll need to bear with me a little my friends. I left much of my writing until Wednesday evening. Looming are the deadlines, scampering are the fingers. Here we go. Perform! Now! All over Chinatown- from Actual Size to Via Cafe (always the best food in Ctown), from The Company to 2nd Cannons and from Dan Graham to L2Kontemporary performers will be performing, artists will be arting and audiences will be...

Notes on Looking, July 22, 2010

Hello my friends, A quiet weekend it was, here on the Western Frontier. Sweetness, my trusty steed Die Spinne and I mostly lounged. It is after all July. But: Late on Saturday afternoon we headed out to Westwood and the Hammer Museum. I’m surely not the first person to tell you to see Outside the Box: Edition Jacob Samuel, 1988 – 2010 but I’m not going to let the possible redundancy of this information stop me. Prints are wonderful objects. Honestly, one is able to feel quite as much of the artist’s hand and person in these modest works on paper as there is in any large and glory grabbing painting. (Nothing against glory grabbing paintings! They deserve all that glory. It’s just there’s room in our hearts for more.) Being in the galleries made me go all quiet and focused, almost holding my breath. In fact as it was Machine Project’s Bell Days at the museum all visitors were belled as though we were cats. In this one exhibit out of the several we visited every person I observed was holding on to their bell to silence the the tiny and tinny peals. It was that precious and hushed a moment. So I don’t ramble on I’m going to link so that Samuel and various of the artists involved can tell you, show you, play for you, their ideas (each of these links are really slow downloads so be patient): Meredith Monk on piano and vocals with Samuel describing their project. Incredibly sweet 2 minutes. Matt Mullican “8 Dead Twos!! In a Box! That Person did it! Not...

Notes on Looking, July 15, 2010

Chris Miles threw a great party at Acme on Saturday. Miles showed many ceramic sculptures titled “Noggins,” which are large head-shaped fired and glazed things mounted on stainless steel poles. These Noggins are installed en masse in the small rear gallery at Acme. Twenty of them, or more. (It feels like more.) At the opening I had the distinct impression that two parties were happening at once but in different times: all us human cheerful gallery-goers were chattering to each other, congratulating Chris Miles, variously talking about our latest projects or querying about someone else’s. And we did this while bobbing and weaving among these other, frozen party goers who glared over our heads. These heads (the ones who glared) are ceramic glazed in oranges and umbers, a nice tone of yellow ochre and one I recall in a lovely mottle of cloud blue and terra cotta. They’re snarling, shouting, laughing, and selfishly vying for attention and posed on their stands well, just like well, people at a party. Indeed it was a vivid affair. (And how like life, too!) When I look at Caitlin Lonegan’s abstract paintings (in the front spaces at Acme) a story starts in my mind about how she might have made them. I imagine the paint being applied to the canvas, I see how the paints react to each other when they meet – sometimes bubbling and cracking on the canvas – I imagine I can see how Lonegan reacted to some of the painting’s own moves. Basically I’m aware that a conversation is going on here among an artist and a painting and of...

Notes on Looking, July 8, 2010

Hello friends in Notes on Looking Land! Much will I have to tell you about the Cal Arts and Irvine Grad shows last week but first some music news. Several of our favorite purveyors of musical excellence and mind expansion have announced their 2010-2011 seasons, topping my list is the Long Beach Opera which has Phillip Glass’s Akhnaten coming in March! You should be able to hear me squealing where ever you may be reading this, I’m that excited. A recording of this opera stayed in constant rotation in David’s car for most of two years. You know from reading Notes how much time we spend in the car so you can imagine how many times I’ve heard the love duet of Akhnaten and Nefertiti and The Window of Appearances and the Funeral of Amenhotep III from NY artist and writer Sarah Zucker’s video interpretation of the opera which she calls Meerkunkhamen. Is there more at the LBO? For sure! Check it out! Piano Spheres once again dons its shining mantle and ascends to the throne of piano playing in LA. Yay! FYI Piano Spheres works like your dream of a curating job: five stellar pianists are invited to put together their dream recital and play it for us at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall. No restrictions as to type of music, only a demand that they stretch their own capabilities as well as the listening audiences. For 2010 / 2011 we’ll have Gloria Cheng on September 28, Vicki Ray on November 30, Liam Viney with Anna Grindberg on February 8, Marc Robson on March 29 and Susan Svrcek...

Notes on Looking, July 1, 2010

Hello friends and Fellows, On July 24th there’s a concert I won’t be able to attend and so I’m deputizing you to go. (I’ll be on summer vacation with David and friends in Parkfield playing with horses and wild turkeys, hiking, revisiting staring white cow and other such exciting things.) SASSAS at King’s Road Park will be featuring the music of Scott Benzel including Music from the Trip (1967) in the style of a Schoenberg-Gershwin tennis match observed in passing by Dr. Oscar Janiger; a live performance of Inversions I – IV (recordings of which premiered in January at Kathryn Andrews’ Apartment 2 space); and the world premier performance of Blak Bloc (music for string quartet and guitar feedback). About Blak Bloc: in the spring of this year, driving on Hwy 58 from McKittrick through cattle country to the California Valley David and I listened to Blak Bloc several times.  Benzel creates rich, affecting and generous desolation with these string instruments; sometimes I was thinking I heard sirens, sometimes sweet sounds came through the speakers from a subtly played cello or viola. This lovely and also jarring music fit as well in its native urban habitat as it did out here in the wilds. As we crossed the Carrizo Plain and moved from blasted heath and salt lake to wind-waving grassland (with attendant flying insects) Benzel’s music reached a crescendo that then disappeared as sound yet stayed nicely in my mind as music does in the pause after a concert before the applause begins. Sassas /  King’s Road Park Pavilion, 1000 N. King’s Road, West Hollywood, 90069 Saturday, 11...