Lvrgrl’s Weblog

A Dark Dream Realized
August 16, 2010, 4:44 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , , ,

In a small theatre on a cobblestone street in the heart of the city’s most prominent art gallery district, director Jay Scheib recently presented the premiere of his masterful adaptation of a cultishly adored science fiction novel.  The story itself, based on Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren, tells of a city wrought with chaos out of which violence, sex and creative genius emerge.  The performance allows this chaos to take shape within the bodies of the cast and the work of the crew giving to the audience a palatable vision of what true community could provide in a world without boundaries.

The Kitchen, the darling of NYC’s performance art venues, is often the site of perceptive and challenging work.  The venue originally opened on the lower east side, just blocks away from where Delany himself was living, before relocating to Chelsea in the late 80’s. On most any night the theatre is packed with audience members eager to see something thought-provoking, the nights between April 1st and April 10th of this year being no different.

Within the drama’s fictionalized city of Bellona all havoc has broken loose: a prominent black radical has been murdered, a young woman has been raped and the city’s newspaper has been monopolized all as the result of an apocalyptic fire the origins of which are unknown.  In the midst of this chaos we see two distinct methods of managing: one from a group of outsiders confronting their differences and another from a family of four trying to hold on to the lives they led before the fire.

True to the book, the play aims to give the nebulous boundary between the real and the constructed a tangible tension.  Intimate moments take place behind the set’s few walls and are projected onto a video screen at the front of the stage mediating moments of both psychological and physical vulnerability.  The action is filled with sex and violence and the story includes love and loss, all of which is seen both on the screen and in the flesh.

While the stripped down set design and the video feed contributed to the mood the technical details were overall less important than the strength of the ensemble performance. Sarita Choudhury portrayed the protagonist’s wide emotional landscape with ease, gracefully moving between a tough explorer, a vulnerable lover, a hurt chid depending on what the moment required.  Mikeah Ernest Jennings delivers an equally complex performance by tackling two roles at once; one a man assassinated for his political views and another a man aggrandized for his potent sexuality.  Tanya Selvaratnam adopted a ritualistic mirror gazing, face-slapping, hip shaking dance when her sex crazed house mom character was left home alone.

In the end the production provided a sophisticated vision of a traditional family relationship turned cold from formality along with the intimate struggles of an explorer searching for and authenticity.  Throughout both interwoven stories were examples of people hurting and helping each other and the terrible back and forth between the two extremes.  The play provided the feeling of what it’s like be in the midst of chaos and served as a reminder that embracing confusion may be the only way to experience moments of clarity.

Bellona, Destroyer of Cities
after Samuel R. Delany’s science-fiction masterpiece ‘Dhalgern’
Adapted and Directed by Jay Scheib
Premiere: 1-10 April 2010 at The Kitchen, NYC
Next Performance: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, May 2011

Take Me Out to the Book Fair
October 4, 2009, 12:45 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , , , ,

leoniestair3This weekend PS1 turns its galleries spaces into a place for art book publishers and their fans to get silly with each other.  Remember the musky smell of library stacks, the metal shelving units lining dark halls illuminated only by crank operated lights?  This isn’t like that.
Don’t miss these five points of interest along the way:

The Classroom:
PS1 used to be a public school. duh – so it only makes sense that one of the rooms turned galleries be left open for adult education.  The talk I saw was about a wheat pasting art-porn artist getting let off the hook for “putting up flyers for his new show”.  ‘Course the posters were photos of a roof-top blow job but we don’t need to tell Judge Judy about those naughty bits unless we’re handcuffed to do so, right?

Red Fox Press:
Ever seen a couple that’s so totally in love they’re probably just a hologram?  Such is the pair behind the booth for Red Fox Press who screen printed portraits they drew of each other cattle feed bags and hand bound the pages together into a book.  Another book features collection of patterns from the insides of envelopes bound together with graph paper print tape.  I got me a copy of “drawn with my left hand” on account of my boyfriend’s recent injury, but if I had the greens I would have bought up one of everything.

The Hairy Bunch
You probably couldn’t miss this one even if you wanted to.  Large and looming hair covered canopies stand towering in the courtyard; not a sight for sore eyes nor terribly hospitable neither.  You can’t really beat the above ground wading pools surrounded by sun decks and hammocks from a few years back, but at least this installation reminded me that Where the Wild Things Are comes out soon.x

On small wire towers on a table just outside the cafe sit the most delicate sweets known to this womankind’s taste buds.  They’re like a cross between a cookie and a marshmallow, but like not in a mallomar sort of way.  Probably eat only one though because even though they’re free you should let other people get some too.

If you know Sto, you know it’s easy to spot him because his hair’s always spiked out real uneven like.  Make sure you find him at the fair because when you do you’ll also find yourself in the company of butt booklets and pages filled with somber looking solo sex acts.  He’ll be near the gobbed up gold letters hanging on the wall that spell out “Cinders”.

Posts to come include “Five Things Not To Do When Your Dead Bolt Locks You Out” and “Jessica Cutler Lies on Craig’s List and I Lived To Tell About It.

* photo take from Apartment Therapy’s post on Book Stairs

Hello Ladies
April 17, 2009, 5:48 pm
Filed under: art, music

A friend asked me to volunteer art direct for an Au Revoir Simone music video shoot at Brooklyn’s Bell House. The first music videos they made for the band a few years back was a beautiful and misty romp through the woods that ended with the ARS girls fishing for their keyboards off the side of the a dewy dock, so I said yes. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into and I think the other boys and the girls on the crew may have known even less.

The girls were fresh faced, bright eyed and on set hours before the cameras were turned on. While picking outfits, doing hair and making up, they conducted the business of being three friends in a band careful to accommodate each other in every way possible while rising step by step to the top of their game. Gold and purple tee shirts have to be made, opening bands must be chosen, fans must be responded to and it all must be done together with ease and success. Tres impressive.

Without giving too much away, the idea was a create a stop motion merry-go-round sort of look using multiple cameras and more angles than you’d find in geometry book. Part of my job was to make a nice-looking star formation out of amps, keyboards and monitors so when the whole set is shot from above each piece is mirrored by another. Think of, I dunno, say a big fat diamond engagement ring that shimmers like crazy with each facet reflecting brightly off one another.

Achieving this effect meant hours of taping down degrees of circles on the floor using protractors, pencils and string until both the space around the band, as well as each band member, were marked up to perfection. Later, large metal sections of circular rails held five separate cameras clamped to exact locations.  This unit was moved around the map until all 360 degrees of the set had been captured. Each performer also had to be surrounded by crew members with cameras held steady as we shuffled, shoulder to shoulder, around the curves. While the song played on repeat. Till 2am.

Sounds fun, right?

Well, yes, yes it was! You know the sort of feeling when you leave camp and all these people you knew nothing about at the beginning of the summer now seem like they’ve been part of your life all along? It was like that. We’re calling each other by nicknames carefully chosen at opportune times, giving away hugs like they are ice cream sandwiches and shouting out times to get together out through the darkness as we each retreat back to our own lives. Even while joyfully imaging sleeping in my very own bed and soon, I still didn’t want to leave.

And this, of course, is due to the non-stop hard working creatively visioned humorously inclined crew who ended the night on a dolly cart whirling around the set to capture the most important and most difficult shot. Dispose of everything, keep nothing but a pure heart and lots of love.  Good luck in Paris, Ladies!

rar rar like a dungeon dragon
February 5, 2009, 4:40 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , ,


Antonia lived in a big bright house that overlooked the bay. You could see this house from the opposite side of the water, looming over the wide green lawn and stretched across it – a forced break in the trees and ostentatiously large. Situated at the end of Cemetery Lane and set off from the road by a dirt driveway that cracked under your car tires when you drove up, the house stood, on all accounts, separate from the rest. The road itself did in fact harbor a cemetery at its crook – a deep bend in the pavement lined with a wooden fence mostly left open to visitors. Not that we visited.

Once inside, the place always felt eerily empty, whether or not anyone was home. Occasionally a dad would appear, grumpy from work, whiskey in hand, or a mom would pop out of the kitchen trying to appear cheerful but escaping after a quick hello. But mostly it was just Tony and me, stealing small snips of red wine from the kitchen while reading on the fridge about the prudish Americans who feared a glass a day during pregnancy.

Like most things in Antonia’s house, the piano – placed fat and comfortable in the middle of the white wide room – was untouched. Never heard the thing get played, not even once; a large sprawling animal kept silent and held still, surrounded by a vast space of intimidation.

And this is the exact image I found on accident in the heart of Chelsea’s normally crap art district, a strip of streets I return to at least once a month – free red wine or not. Just in the doors of the Gladstone Gallery sat a baby grand, proof that there are others out there guilty of over romanticizing a big hunk o’ metal strings, padded hammers in a glossy black surface.

But that anyone would go a step further to not only carve a hole in the thing so one can smash at the keys from the inside out but then also then to set it on wheels so one can lug it about the room like it belongs to you, like it’s a part of your own body – now that is to be consumed by music.

Allora & Calzadilla
“Stop, Repair, Prepare”
through Feb 21st.

Owlie Hour Update:
The first and only winner of last week’s contest is one awahl who guessed correctly that the red block is the one that goes ‘DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA’! For reference, posting songs on a wordpress blog is wikkid easy:

First host your mp3 somewhere (that’s one thing WP won’t do for you). I put mine on my public folder on my mobile me.

Once the mp3 has a home somewhere on the www, just include this – audio – in the html of your post and WP will make a pretty little player in a heartbeat. You need to put [ and ] around the audio tag too.

An Experiment – presented by Owlie Hour
February 2, 2009, 4:45 pm
Filed under: art, movies, music | Tags:

Owlie: So like i want to take the logic regions and make picture song out of them so that the playback is one read from visuals rather than from a thought out sound composition.
Lvrgrl: Regions?
Owlie: Yes, the blocks of color that represent a sample in logic.
Lvrgrl: Riiight – wait, show me.


Thus began our experiment, the result of which is song clip (press the play button above and hope that the lvrgrl server wants to share) made from the shape of my nickname and some random samples from Owlie’s sound vault. It would be better if you could see the way the white bar sweeps over the regions during playback because then you could follow along and get excited when the red sample comes around for the second time. Can you picture it?

First prize goes to the listener who can correctly match each the sound to its appropriate color.

Let’s Get Married!
January 22, 2009, 1:22 pm
Filed under: art, technology | Tags:


Deb and Adam are my favorite couple.  They, like, really like each other and have decided this is reason enough to tie the knot.  So, to support this bold union and to be involved in what is sure to be a slamming affair, I offered to make the invites.

After scouring through with debs, we found a few images she liked so we could model our design invite after something that she knew suited her style.  From San Fran we sent the pics to the Messy Omelette / Victory Boulevard / Decoradar who had been named main image creator for this project.  A few days later Jen came back with batches of photos from her vacation home in Sarasota (where her parents also happen to reside).  From these bristly natural and elegant forms, d and a choose some shadowy greenery to grace the left hand side of the 5 by 5 card soon to be their invitation.

The computerizing was the easy part.

1. Import the photo and SHOP it so that the leaves are its own layer.
2. Take the leaves and stick ’em in illustrator.
3. Select and click “live trace” and then these suckers will be vectorized and ready for print.
4. Bring in sample images for format and color ideas.
5. Whip up a few options and send the digital files for approved.

The production was the hard part:

1. Print on a few different types of paper and send out for approval.
2. Go to pearl and explain that you need large format watercolor style paper thin enough to feed through an ink jet but think enough that it can stand on it’s own when cut down to small cards.  Receive Aces 1269951 140#, 22″ x 30″.
3. Format the invite and rsvp card on the page so you can print as many as possible on one sheet.
4. Print on Jen’s Epson Stylus 2200 printer while overseeing the process.  If you don’t have a Jen, any roommate with a perfect eye and every art tool imaginable will do.
5. Overnight samples for sign off.
6. Print 50 pages of the suckers and use heavy weight ruler with a big grip yellow Olfa razor to cut down to size.  Make friends with said Ofla as it will be your best buddy for the next few days.
7.  Box up in an old stationary box and take to your equivalent of a chinatown post office line.

Vwwallah. BFF.

Introducing Owlie Hour

Owlie hour is a more than hour long session with Owlie (Allie Alvarado) and lvrgrl (Emily Kramer) who meet on the internet to talk about sex, dating and technology. We will take notes on the technology part for public use.

Things we’ve learned during Owlie Hour in Session 1,2 3 and 4.

iChat enables two people with Leopard to share screens. Not only can you see what’s going on on someone else’s computer, but you can reach out across the interweb and touch your partners computer screen, IM-ing members on their buddy list and reading bits and pieces of their digital journals stored only on their desktop. Don’t ask us how it works, it just does.

Gmail is not the most efficient interface for e-mailing from your computer. Mac Mail is! One bit of proof is the drag and drop attachments that preview in the body of the email as well, so you can be sure you aren’t sending along a copy of your phone bill instead of an invoice to your ex-employer.

You can host music files for your WordPress blog in the public directory of your mobile me folder if you don’t have another server option.

Your iPhone will be more useful if you group listings in your address book. For instance, do like Allie and put all your hairdressers in one a group together for emergency situations.

Pixelmator is a good choice for people wanting to do graphics stuff who can’t afford Photoshop or are scared of it.

You can use use automation in Garage Band to bring effects in and out of a track. or to the whole song using a master track say serious Owlie.

Use compression creatively to pump up your drums, yo, or to control the dynamics in your track. No, No, No we’re not going to go into a whole compression discussion here.

If you are teaching technology to a person who would like to add new age music to still pictures of flowers, you just have to suck it up and do it anyway. Sharing is healing.

Um. Do your software updates EMILY.
Then maybe this year’s version of iChat will work…

We will have a graphic once Allie gets her wackem. It will be of an owl and a clock. “Watch” out, get it?

Tweet, tweet!