Images: Some Food We Could Not Eat

This is a collection of images from the exhibition at September Gallery earlier this month, which was dismantled today. I wish I had better photographs of the other artist's works (Tim Ridlen, David Horvitz, Marco Braunshweiner, and Martine Syms) but I don't. The show was currated by Jamielee Polson, as the first of 12 shows in her roving 12 Galleries project. Links soon. Here is a brief description of what you see:

Ugolino - The tree eating a tree, oh how horrible, just like poor Ugolino having to eat the brains of his kids in Dantetown... but this time we don't really know who the kid is; Ugolino has been known to chew on his own fingers too (wiki Ugolino to learn more about his history)

Cool It! - This is a small scale sculpture of my friend Tim, who was chosen to curate this show but instead decided to pick artists he liked and we all di our thing, so Tim the currator was voodooed into this doll and put in the fridge to slow down his rate of spoilage.

Pod is in the Details - a complicated story behind this work, but what you see here is where to stand and what you see when you stand there: colors; my miasma palette.

Nickname Game - call the number from the phone to get a nickname, and then choose (if you want) to accept, reject or take no action on that name. Enpowering me to empower you to open up and vote (as an elective, not in an election)!

See you in Toronto!

*go see

in Ottawa on the 2nd, Montreal on the 3rd and Toronto on the 4th of October.


Bodega: By Luis San Bispe

Wow, man, I mean, this, this is what I'm DOING every day - this is my job, and it's kinda, you know, it's bullshit, because these old dudes are sitting here beside me  all day not doing a thing except they talk, talk, holy SHIT do they talk so much old dark language that they don't even realize it's nice outside, because they've got the same old stories about their first wives when they were younger and how they picked up these young girls, picked them up in the only new vehicles they ever owned, back when they were young and so horny their thighs would be red from rubbing them so much. They were riled up enough to go out and WORK, honest days and shady jobs for the old commanders, enough to put down payments on big Buicks and Chev-Rolets, with chrome trim and power steering and all that shit, just so they could holler at these young girls, turn them into wives, then turn them into women; so they could move a little weight and make a baby, which means they've got a legend (they mean 'legacy', but these old fuckers call it a 'legend'). So they do all this work to convince these girls to stock them for life, to give em life, and then they get all lazy forever, and they just want to sit here and not do shit but talk about the same shit, and I want to go outside but I can't cause I'm getting paid and nothing would get done if I left. These old fuckers and their women; some of the women, they leave, and maybe sometimes after that the old balls, older balls than before but sometimes they still get jumpy after the first wife and they become productive guys again, productive members of the community; labor poolers or janitors or working a deli, plus side jobs, even, for the commanders if they didn't fuck up too bad when they were younger. And they maybe they buy a little potential and get an act going enough so they can convince the girls, or A girl, not so young, maybe a woman (already once or twice, maybe now she's a pig, or a tramp), they convince SOMETHING to get back up on those balls and hitch a ride to the long life after together. And the dance stops, the balls stop bouncing before the song ends again, probably, but everyone's a little older this time, and maybe nobody's going to leave the party because they're afraid now, now that they've seen some days and lost the balls that would have put gasoline in their ambition. They are afraid to go outside again, and in the literal way too. Fuck, it's so sunny. Some of these dudes - the guy with the never-changing wardrobe: yellow short-sleeves shirt tucked sloppily into his faded jeans, with a Puerto Rico belt buckle and wearing slippers like he's enjoying comfort time in his living room (when actually he's sitting on some kitchen equipment at the back of the bodega) - this guy either owns five of each of the things he wears, or he washes his cloths every night after or possibly during the Eyewitness Sports wrap-up at 11. Or else he, this guy I've called Sanjo for years but who's real name I've never known, he just doesn't smell ever because his skin is made of plastic or something (his skin IS pretty shiny). He smells a little sometimes, Sanjo, but he'd smell much worse if he didn't do something to his clothes all the time, because I've never seen him wear anything different, except to church. Pepe smells WAY worse, and he wears a different Mets jersey to work (it's not work for him cause he just talks all day with Sanjo and Elia, but it's my place of work and he's here when he should be working, and I don't know maybe my uncle pays him, so I'll call it that), but Pepe wears a different jersey every day of the MONTH - he must have a walk-in-closet full of these smelly-ass jerseys, that he probably doesn't wash because he's superstitious, and thinks it's bad luck (and it's bad luck to work too, for this fucking fan). So he smells, and so does Elia, but not as bad because Elia, at least he cares a little bit about not being a total creepy fucker, and wears regular old man clothes, and changes them usually, and buys new shit once in a while. HE even helps me cook eggs or bacon or ham or whatever if it's a busy morning. And Elia's got the most energy, and talks the least bullshit, and HE's the one who's not been able to keep a wife for more than a minute, and he's still alone after like three marriages. He also has no kids, so maybe he shoots blanks, or maybe he's got no balls or something and that mellows him out a little (a little too much, so the wives run off with someone who smells worse but says nice things and can fuck, and make babies). But regardless, I'm stuck back here every day cooking these eggs and making these sandwiches, and it's SO NICE outside, and although I'm thankful to my uncle for giving me a job, and I get to hook this one fine girl up with free shit sometimes so I think she's maybe warming up to me (she is fine), this ain't no player's life, this ain't no life even for a fat video-game-player, and although it's my life for now, I hope it won't be for long. 


(I didn't take this picture of a bodega, I found it on the internet)


The Day the City of Chicago Stole My Car

I park regularly on a street named Wolcott Ave; it's one of the only streets near my apartment that doesn't require a permit to park on. It is a short and generally timid street - its length is truncated by a park on one end and a dark gated alcove under train tracks on the other. Sides of buildings and fenced off parking lots occupy the properties bordering its sidewalks. My room mate Tim and I regularly vie for the closest parking spot to the house, and sympathize with one another when we're forced to park off of Wolcott onto 16th St., which is a barren road one block north of our street, running along the train tracks, devoid of foot traffic and thus vehicles are more susceptible to tampering. There's broken window glass lining the street always.

I left my parking spot, an undignified spot at the very south end of Wolcott, on the warm rainy evening of Friday September 12th with Tim in car to head to a video fundraiser and then an independent video store in Wicker Park. I rented 'Glory Stompers', a film starring a (pre-sobriety) Dennis Hopper as the leader of a biker gang called The Black Souls who talk a lot about snuffing and stomping and gettin' loaded, and end up doing each other in through various wanton activities. I was hoping to upgrade my parking spot upon our return to Wolcott, as there were empty spaces closer to the house when we left, but alas I was relegated to parking the same distance away from the house, on the far side of the street this time, even. It being rainy and late, I didn't notice, nor did I feel the need to notice any notices posted along the street indicating temporary changes to parking status on the street. 

    However, upon leaving the house the next morning at 10:30, I was met with an empty Wolcott where once many cars had been parked, including my own. At first I was hoping they ('they' being whoever it was that had the power to clear a street of cars, the city, or the cops, or a criminal maybe) had maybe just nudged the vehicles into one of the parking lots nearby or something, that my car had been moved just a little, because for some reason it wasn't quite in the right place, or something. At that point I saw the notices posted on a scanty few electric poles and stop signs along the street which I had not noticed or which were not there the night before: they read "NO PARKING TOW ZONE 9-13 6AM - 3PM POLICE ORDER City of Chicago Bureau of Traffic Services". The notice posted nearest my car had slipped from its spot at eye-level, to the bottom of the stop sign onto which it was strung. I understood at this point that my car had been stolen by the people who posted these signs, and that it probably wasn't nearby. Across the street on the sidewalk bordering the park I spotted two representatives of the Traffic Services Bureau. I asked them where the cars went and they said 'Sheit, were you the guy from NEW YORK' (I have New York plates) and I said 'Yeah man' and they replied 'Man, how do they expect you to see these little red and white signs here, and it's all rainy and shit...' and I asked where the pound was, and they told me to call '411' - 'No wait, it's 311 you ought ta call. Yeah call 311 and ask about the pound. Where's Western? Oh yeah thata way, there's the pound way down Western'. I asked them what was happening today, and they said some festival that was cancelled due to the rain. I thanked the yellow-slickered Traffic Men and went to find the pound, on the phone. But the phone service proved useless...my estimated wait time was to be 'more than three minutes' - I was waiting 'more than ten minutes' when I hung up. My license wasn't showing up on the pound database online, but I did eventually find some phone numbers that would connect me direct to each of the city's six pounds (they are paired up in three locations, though each pound, even those at the same location and office, has different hours of operation). I got in touch with a pound employee who confirmed that all cars from festivals were going to pound #6. I headed for pound #6, by foot and bus and then foot again. Walking from the bus to the pound was a fifteen minute bout through a torrent (brought on by the north-moving weather of hurricane Ike) and I was wetter than comfort could care to handle upon arrival at the pound.
    The pound office was filled to overflowing with people put out by the many cancelled festivals across the city; it seemed that temporary tow signs city-wide weren't posted until late the evening before the events of the day. It was not a happy place, and I was unhappily stuck there for four hours, at which point my car still hadn't been inventoried (it was there, but it hadn't been bureaucratized yet) and I abandoned my post to go home and eat something. Tim had cooked a whole chicken and its skin and meat transferred heat and vitality into my damp defeated sad sack soul. My brooding had been softened significantly by the sympathy I received from my father over the phone, and I was at ease with my lack come bedtime. The next day, Sunday, arrived with no repast from the rains, and Tim drove me back to the pound in the morning. I met a man who was there along with me the day before, who had just at that moment, after waiting yesterday and coming back today, been informed that he would need a valid City Permit to drive his can off the lot (he didn't have one, and you couldn't get one at the pound, and it was a rainy Sunday). The man, who was tall and had fish lips and no definition in his jaw, berated the staff with comments like 'you people don't run a service here, you run AN OBSTACLE TO PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES!' The staff, to their defense, were working very hard the entire time and showed nothing but courtesy and patience for individual predicaments; the tall man was an ass, and was told to go get a pass.
 I paid $170 ransom for my car, and received an after-tow hearing date for the coming Wednesday. The penultimate challenge presented itself when I found my car in the lot, surrounded by a puddle four or five inches deep. I had the choice to ask the forklift driver who moves the cars around with his brutal machine and who had just moved a car out of the way so I could get to mine, to move my car out of the puddle, or I could forego my relative comfort (relative to yesterday) and save my car from further distress by wading through the puddle and soaking my shoes and socks. I chose the latter. I had my car again, and this was good.
    The final challenge was the court case, and through some documentary evidence of inadequate marking which wasn't admissible because it didn't document the entire street, my neophyte Chicagoan status, and my description of collective frustration among all parties towed without adequate notice that day at the pound, I won my case (the adjudicating lawyer told me, off the record, that this was a gift, and officially welcomed me to the city). The representative of the city then took me aside and, as I had asked to have payment sent to my parents' address in Toronto four months from now, told me I need to give her the name of the best furrier in Toronto, which was an odd request but I obliged and will call her shortly to give her that information. 
The city stole my car, and I'm not sure they feel bad about it, but my frustration has been put at ease now that justice has been served. Chicago still owes me a day, and so I'm expecting something municipally expedient to happen in the near future. 


Department(Store) - SAIC

There is a Show going on right now at the School of the Art Institute Sullivan galleries that is a game involving like a hundred and more of these really nice classic display cases, where anyone can apply for and receive a case and put whatever they want in it, and then the cases move around and touch each other and you're able to move your stuff into other people's cases if they touch, and it's great. J. Morgan Puett is the artist's name who has organized the show, and above you can see my case, which is an interactive case: Free drawings of Cigarettes and Signatures (head to my Picasa web albums to see all the drawings), a change x-change, and a really amazing book to look at, is what's inside my case. Below are a few other cases I took pictures of, including my friend and fellow MFA student (although now she's graduated) Julia Klein (directly below).


Dead Animal Zoo - Clear Creek PArk, PA

These photos were taken at the lovely little lumberjack museum located at Clear Creek State Park campsite near Brookville, Pennsylvania. Brookville is about twenty minutes north of infamous Punksatony, home of Phil the groundhog, and Clear Creek is about twenty minutes North of Brookville. I stayed there on my way to Chicago from New York; my choices came down to Clear Creek or the less appealing Mosquito Lake just West of the PA border in Ohio. I arrived at the campsite office after hours, so was forced to use the honor envelopes to fill out my info and pay for the campsite. However, as I was about to slip my envelope, into which I had placed maybe twelve dollars, the local fee during off season, a park ranger came by and let me into the office so that I might pay inside. I hadn't yet sealed the envelope, to my relief, otherwise she might have caught me trying to shirk full payment. She asked if I was a resident of PA, and for the sake of conversation I told her I was out here looking to maybe set up shop. Upon this news the ranger lady began telling me all about the area's artisans and the little community festivals they have and all the lovely local craft shops, and that I'd chosen a great place to make an artist's living, even. Although I was lying to her (I had no intention of finding a studio in the Pennsylvania Wilds), I'm happy I did so, as it strengthened our repore and I was able to think about what it would be like setting up shop in rural PA; pleasant and dull and no doubt tolerable for most. The camping was extraordinary, btw.


Propping up the gift economy in Chicago...

SEPTEMBER gallery presents...


September 6 - September 28, 2008
Opening Reception:
Saturday 6th of September
6:00 - 9:00 pm

2023 south ruble
1st floor
chicago, il 60616
hours by appointment only

...not as if this is going to get anyone out to the show, but just, you know, fyi...