Category Archives: Creative Inspiration

Photographs: The News

It has been a while since I picked up a camera for a purpose other than Instagram. At SOMArts there is usually something else I should be doing, but Tuesday we were a little short-handed so I snapped some pics of our queer performance series The News, hosted by Kolmel WithLove. This pic is of Aurora Switchblade. The whole set can be viewed here.

 

Art, Commerce & Layered Participation: Punchdrunk in NYC

 

Lex at The Firebird, 2005

Me at The Firebird, 2005

The other day I was speaking with a friend who is going to London and I told her about Punchdrunk and their performance of The Firebird Ball in 2005, which is on my list of Top Ten Arts Experiences of All Time, made all the better by the fact that the reason I bought a ticket in the first place was somewhat obligatory. My boss’s niece was in the play and it was mostly sold out … which is why on my last night in London I found myself taking the tube to Brixton and shivering in an alley with a group of around 20 people waiting to be let into a warehouse. Those of you who haveand family in the theater know that an audience of 20 outside a warehouse is not unusual, so I had no expectations whatsoever.

The Firebird

posters taped to easel in dark alley ... what to expect?

CONTINUE READING ]

Dance, Dance, Evolution …

Back in 2006  when I worked at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, the CFA co-commissioned Liz Lerman’s Ferocious Beauty: Genomea work created with, by and for scientists and students of science that was a cross-disciplinary catalyst for discussions about reproductive technologies, women’s health and social justice; stem cell research, religion and politics; genetics and race; and many other topics.

These days it is de riguer for arts organizations to have some sort of  socially relevant talk accompanying a performance or exhibition. Liz Lerman and the CFA take it up a notch (or five) because they are masters at combining multilevel arts participation and community collaboration with economies of scale, the more deeply you look at this partnership, the more there is to see. The premiere of Ferocious Beauty sparked another idea for collaboration, and last week the Wesleyan Hughes Program in Life Sciences and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange launched Science Choreography, an online toolkit for the embodied exploration of science through dance. CONTINUE READING ]

Google Art Project: “Wave” or the Future?

At work we’ve been investing in many projects—some big, some little—that may be assisted by access to a tool such as Google Art Project, the new street-view style gallery tours that allow viewers to virtually walk through an exhibition and look closely, in detail, at works of art.

SOMArts has experienced with other virtual tour tools including Second Life and Google SketchUp, but on first glance this seems superior: instant gratification, easy to navigate, high-res images.

For us, potential uses could be:

-Increased access, particularly for thought-provoking exhibitions by cultural communities who would be censored or unfunded elsewhere

-Better documentation of exhibitions as opposed to individual artworks, enhanced ability to show how works relate to the space and to each other.

-Adding value to the experience of going to an art exhibit by allowing visitors to anticipate/reminisce

These are three of many … but for now, the folks at Google have documented some of the largest worldwide institutions. What would happen if they Google up with someone like the Wallace Foundation to increase access to and appreciation for important exhibitions of, by and for cultural communities?

Feast of Words in SF Chronicle

Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck had a big two-page spread in the SF Chronicle, written by Meredith May, last weekend. The monthly series started in October and co-host Irina Zadov and I have been tweaking the “recipe” since then. We’ve landed on something I was excited about from the beginning, which is more of a spontaneous writing/potluck with a side dish (entree?) of culture to season the evening.

As a writer who does not have as much time to write these days, I love that FoW provides an easy opportunity for anyone to put pencil to paper. I love our featured literary and culinary guests, who show how culture can inspire great writing and cooking.

And most of all, I love the foodies and writers who have come to FoW so far: all ages, many cultures, lots of friendly introductions and willingness to try something new. Tasty and creative potluck dishes, surprisingly good spontaneous writing.

The next Feast of Words is January 4 and features Faith Adiele and Peter Jackson. Tickets are available at feastofwords.eventbrite.com.

Sometimes, It’s Okay To Judge

SQUART: Spontaneous Queer Art

On Saturday, October 30th I’ll be one of the esteemed judges for SQUART (Spontaneous Queer Art!) over at The Lab. According to the website, “SQUART was originally conceived by Laura Arrington, out of the desire to foster community and create work without preciousness.”

Process begins at 6pm and the show starts at 8pm. Confirmed Performers are: Peter Max Lawrence, Anna Martine Whitehead, Rachael Dichter, Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr., Evan Johnson, Minna Harri, Harold Burns, Kirk Read, Jesse Hewit, Jai Arun Ravine, Miriam Wolodarski, Kevin Seaman, Kyra Rice and Liz Tenuto.

I’ve been hearing the buzz about SQUART for a while now so I am thrilled to be playing a role in the next one. Plus, they have a cool-lookin’ poster that reminds me of a cross between Paula Scher and Dia de los Muertos.

You can RSVP here.

Inspiration: Race for the Arts

One of the resources of San Francisco is the beautiful weather and the fact that there is some kind of race almost every weekend. So I was completely inspired by Sara Seinberg’s Run for Radar Productions. I want to do this. I want ten people I know to do this. I don’t really care if it’s for SOMArts or some other organization (okay that’s a lie). But really, I want this idea to catch on. Because Seinberg just did this on her own and look at all the good that comes of it:

-people talk about it, hear about her and discover her work
-RADAR gets $5k to continute building community through literary arts
-fabulous health benefits

Every now and then I get emails from my arts friends who are running a 5 or 10k for a cause—usually health related—and I always think, why not run for art? Training for a run is social, it’s healthy, and it is something that can raise money on a shoestring. These health people have their fundraising DOWN. Why do the arts organizations throw big expensive parties and auctions when if we do our jobs right, every single event we have is a chance to meet artists, be social, learn about and enjoy art, and it’s usually free?

Having big galas for small, grassroots organizations usually feels status-y and weird. The people you are selling tickets to are usually about 90% different from the people who use your services on a day-to-day basis, and because of both the similarities and the differences it is hard to create an effective fundraising event that like a true celebration of the work. Few organizations get it right, and the ones that feel right in SF are usually called fundraisers but described behind the scenes by staff as “more friend-raiser than fund-raiser.” (Aside: what is with this trend of calling every concert and performance a fundraiser? I don’t understand the long-term benefit of giving people a false impression that what they are paying is above and beyond the cost of doing the work).

Of course, I hurt my foot and I’m getting married in a mont so my own Run for the Arts may have to wait a little bit. But my lame excuses only serve to make Seinberg’s success seem all the more awe-inspiring.

Photo credit: 5k, woohoo!

“Let’s Eat Some Freakin’ Cheese”

Above title is a quote from Jason Schupbach, author of thecheesefreak.com but ALSO creative economy industry director at the Massachusetts Department of Business Development, and a major mind behind affordable artist space. What is up with all of my smartest friends and associates having food & drink projects on the side? Design writer Will Bostwick also covers beer for GQ. Gritmedia designer Fran Duncan (responsible for the Echoing Green website, which I love) started Plate to Plate, a blog about eating locally in the Berkshires.

As if anyone needs arm-twisting to consume food, cheese and beer. But thanks, all, for lending your minds to these worthy causes. I see a goofy cheese-tasting video in my imminent future.

photo credit: Taken on a trip to London. In retrospect, I deeply regret not tasting the best cheese in the world.