I asked Chris to send me more nephew Bannack photos and he’s been really pulling through the past few weeks. This one melts my heart! I miss the little squirt.
It has been a long time since I have visited the country club pool in Great Falls, Montana but Great Grandma Fern was kind enough to take us yesterday.
It was pure 1950s sweetness and Bannack fit right in in his tight striped le petit bateau swim suit (thanks Jill).
I took a red nose clown workshop from Paola Coletto two weeks ago. One of the apprenticeship students, Ned Brower, doccumented our progress and just started putting photos on line this week. These are from an excercise we did on the last day of class when we swapped costumes and clowns with a partner.
Twin Sons of Different Mothers
That’s me and Alee as our clowns, Gar and Sparkle Grape. I’m not sure they’re if even from the same universe, but if they are they would not wish to be acknowledged by the other on the street.
As silly as the photos may seem, I feel really lucky to have found such excellent and uncommon training so soon after arriving in Chicago. I wouldn’t have known how to look for this kind of class if I tried. I stumbled into them really. My friend mentioned taking clown classes, I asked him about them and a few days later he introduced me to her at the opening of his show.
I’ve been fascinated by this kind of clown performance since seeing in Fellini’s La Strada for the first time. Innocent Gelsomina is an impossible situation and fails over and over again in a beautiful way. The little flame she started in my heart was fanned at Slava’s Snow Show. My mom bought tickets to it even though I thought it sounded dumb. Clowns mom? Come on! I came out of the theater totally flabbergasted by that show and immediately afterword I can’t remember if I speechless or wouldn’t shut up about it.
Here are some old photos from life in Wellington that were taken five years ago this month. The view from the picture window in my old apartment. Me at the Paramount waiting for the cue. My old bag and scooter helmet. My overdue student visa.
Five years seems like no time at all and forever ago all at once.
An update from my nephew Bannack, “the alternate hero of kvncsy.com,” as my friend Tisher referred to him.
Sara, Chris and Bannack are staying up with my parents for the summer as they prepare for the big move to New York City in August. This is him on the front porch dressed exactly like his father and looking like the happy boy I know him to be. Thanks for sending the photo Chris, I miss this guy!
Helena’s one and only consignment craft boutique and best place to find a birthday present for my sister, just launched a brand new website. If you have never been up to Reeder’s Alley you’ve missed out on a really special nook in Helena’s history and a great part of town.
These evocative marionettes were made for a new production called “69˚S.” by a New York puppet company called The Phantom Limb. This project has been in the works for a few years now and just a few days ago they got their last bit of funding.
I especially like the texture and detail in the costumes, it’s extraordinarily tricky to make fabric look like clothing at such a small scale. I love the sober expressions on the plainly formed heads. My first impression was that they were cut from blocks of gray styrofoam, then I thought maybe they were cast concrete. Now I’m convinced I have no idea what their made of, but I love their black eyes.
During the panel talk Jessica Grindstaff talked about the history of the company and how this project represented a lot of what they had learned from past productions. They got their start with some spectacular shows involving massive . She made special mention of the icebergs, and the creative thinking involved in creating the illusion of mass on stage.
Phantom Limb (Jessica Grindstaff & Erik Sanko, Co-Artistic Directors) is joined by an extraordinary team of multi-disciplinary collaborators. Synthesizing theater, dance, puppetry, photography, film, original contemporary music and an unconventional acoustic palette creating a stunning and evocative series of tableaux vivants that follows a group of gentlemen frozen (literally) in crisis.
I met Gene (AKA Zhenya, Euvgene) in 2005 when we both worked at the Paramount in Wellington. We were fast friends and collaborated on a few projects together. (Maybe you remember this?) We’ve been in intermittent contact since I moved off the Long White Cloud.
Gene’s visited the U.S. a few times since then, but every time he’s been stateside I’ve either been too far away or too broke to see him. But a few weeks ago Gene ventured outside of New York City and went on an impromptu tour of some great American cities, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago.
I jumped on the chance to meet Gene in Detroit, a city that looked close enough on the map to justify jumping in without much of a game plan. I meant to spend a day with him but we ended up spending the long weekend together.
Gene filled me in on what he’s been up to for the past few years. Back in Wellington he had been performing a little, collaborating on a few shows, he started a theater company, produced some plays and even flew a director in from New York out for a production. But he told me, “I made a hundred bucks man, it just wasn’t worth it.” He swore theater off and focused on making music.
After several months of producing music and DJing in Wellington, Gene found himself in a Commedia del’Arte workshop given by this mad man. The work was powerful enough to inspire taking a significant risk, so after talking it over with Giovanni (the mad man) and Gene’s long time partner Erin, he took the plunge and for the past six months has been studying at Helikos, a small physical theater program in Florence, Italy.
As it turns out, the woman who gives the amazing red nose workshops I’ve been taking in Chicago, Paola Coletto worked with Giovanni to develop the previous incarnation of the school in the early 2000s. Small world right?
My sister sent me this video, she knew I’d like it. Maybe because she knew Mike Potts and I loved crashing our bikes in to stuff when we were boys. Maybe she was taunting me, knowing I am bike-less in a bike city. Maybe she wanted to remind me of the responsibility I still hold to the Push Bike Safety League.
I don’t know the exact reason you sent it, but I do like the video very much. Thanks sis!
To demonstrate why a cyclist in NYC might need to ride outside the bike lane, Neistat proceeds to crash into anything and everything that blocks a bike lane from construction barricades to trucks to… Well, just watch till the end. Johnny Knoxville would be proud. - Alex Goldmark, GOOD
I’m in a workshop at Columbia College which gets me right down on Michigan Avenue every weekday. Last Wednesday was free day at the Art Institute of Chicago and I had a great walk through there with my friend Thomas. Here is a video of what it was like.
I was most struck by this Rodin bronze, Head of Pierre de Wissant. The slack-jawed sorrow on his face surprised me when I passed by the case. But I’ll have to come back because I only got a quick look at a case full of these hilarious little bronze heads.
I haven’t been able to articulate for myself what it feels like to see in person the paintings I’ve seen reproduced and riffed on a thousand times before. The closest I can come is that it’s like meeting a celebrity—the thrill of recognition but without any other familiarity.
Nighthawks is beautiful in person, but I didn’t get a long look at it. My sister used to have print of it hanging in her room when we lived on Billings Avenue. The 10-12 year old me was particularly fascinated with the 5¢ PHILLIES sign and unsettled by the ghastly redhead and skeletal waiter. Seeing it in person I didn’t look at the ghouls at all, only at vibrant area to the right of them. I noticed two details: one of the samovars in empty, and the door has a single brush stroke for a push plate. Now I feel like all I have is a he’s way shorter than I thought he would be story.