Book review

It’s so cool to be proud of your friends. When they bust ass and eat blood, sweat and aggravation and finally give birth to something (provided it’s not an alien face hugger thing), it’s a great thing to watch. Because determination is awesome and has an infectious quality that has a ripple effect in the immediate area.

It’s also inspiring, because publishing your own book instead of doing the round of publishers and rejection letters and rewrites = rad. Because it’s YOURS, then. YOU did it. Well, you and the herd of cats you perform with, as is the case in this situation. You and all the people who believed in you enough to part with their filthy lucre and fund your Indigogo campaign. Which was many, as it turned out. People like being part of a creative process. Creative people, people who don’t consider themselves to be. Everyone likes to be part of creation.

Esoterotica is a performance group. They’re poets, talkers, spoken word-ers. They’re dirty, honest and insane. They talk about stuff you’re not supposed to talk about in public, not supposed to enjoy, and not supposed to admit to. They tackle hard conversations through an artistic medium. Conversations about being queer, about racism, about gender identity. It’s a beautiful way to deal with ugly subjects. They also talk about good ol’ fashioned boinking with enthusiasm and humor.  They talk about beauty and love and pain and the fact that it’s really hard to separate those things.

I’ve never seen one of their shows, because Shadow and her cohorts started this thing well after I’d gone, and I haven’t been able to afford to go back for a visit in some time. (Dude, starting a business requires ALL OF THE MONEYS) But home girl reads me her stuff over the phone, and I saw one of the pieces performed last time I was back, before Eso’s provocateurs really got their feet under them. So I’ve felt connected to it in a way.

I contributed an amount that got me some righteous swag. Which just shows how good at budgeting and DIYing these cats are, because I only had fifty bucks to part with at the time. I got two copies of the book (one is personalized for me by mah boo gurl so it’s mine forever, one is going to a friend), like, a gazillion stickers (which were shared among appropriate parties) a poem written for me, an awesome t-shirt, and a bunch of other bits and bobs.

All this is awesome, you say, but was it any good?

Totally.

Like any collaborative work, I connected with some of it, some of it not. But that’s good. If all of it had left me drooling it would have all been the same and that’s not what a collaborative work is about. That there were distinct voices with different rhythms means it will have something for everyone, and those things you don’t really jam on are still serving the purpose of exposing you to things you don’t really jam on and people, you need that. Otherwise how do you discover new things?

I had favorites, of course. If it’s egotistical to admit this, I’ll own that shit, but one of the standouts was a poem about me. The most beautiful “I love you” anyone has ever said to me, and it makes me weepy every time, Corneja, by Shadow Angelina Starkey, and I’m tickled it made the cut, because if a muse is a creative partner then I’m filled with joy to have been a part of this escapade. I love you too, gurl.

Another favorite was one called The Audacity of Grope, “an open letter regarding the ongoing mishandling of female anatomy”, by Paul Oswell. It was hilarious in the way that’s so funny because it’s so true. Another one by the same author, We Once Were struck me as well. There was a hot little bit of prose by Nicole Gruter called The Penal System that definitely did the job, and a poignant piece by Aime SansSavant called Without Sense that made me all emo and somehow reminded me of a Cure song (totally a not bad thing). And speaking of songs, Nan’s Song by Wendalyn Lewis was like something that should be paired with a baritone sax and a good single malt at 3 am, if you know what I’m sayin’. We’re Crashing in Reverse by Aurora was rhythmic and gorgeous and sad and made me want to dance in a thunderstorm. And then the other weepy inducing “I love you”, My Dearest Shadow by Invaluable Emily was wrought with the kind of emotion nobody expresses to anyone’s face because it leaves you far to exposed, and yet she did it anyway. Bravo girl.

Bravo to all of the Eso peeps for a job well done. And YOU all should totally buy this book. Yes, because my friend is involved and I want my friends to succeed, DUH. But also because I’m not a liar, and I wouldn’t tell you to spend your money on crap. I won’t let you walk out of my shop wearing the wrong colors either, so trust me. At the very least, go peek at their website, http://www.esoterotica.com, and see what they’re about. If you don’t like sex and literature, or either, or both, feel free to ignore this whole post. But otherwise, I mean it, go check it out.

Red Door

Well I for one am pleasantly surprised. The Red Door event was excellent beyond expectations. We went in with very modest ones, to be honest. Because while it’s established, it’s a small event. A regular, weekend long art show brings in about 10,000 people if it’s well established, and that’s a crowd you can sink your teeth into and pay your bills after. I expected to make back costs and a little extra, and give my time to a cause I believe in. Which was more than enough for me.

What ended up happening was that the numbers for this small five hour event were better than day one of both of the big shows I did this year. What? Hell yeah!

Which just goes to show you that you never know. Absolutely some of it was the encroaching holidays, but I think no small part was just a really great vibe, the nature of the event (Who doesn’t want to help homeless pets?), diversity of the vendor’s offerings (there was some Christmas oriented stuff, but by and large it was craft show eclectic), and dedicated advertising via social media and posters around town, which I saw as far north as Evanston. The crowd was never thick, but it was steady all day, and everyone was in a good mood. My peeps came out to do some shopping and pet puppies, and some folks I train with at my gym came too. There were a gazillion dogs and not a few cats and bunnies brought in for photos with Santa. There was a table running the length of the room loaded with home made cookies that had been donated, and you filled up a box with whatever you liked and they charged you by the pound. Needless to say, that was my favorite, as I am an unrepentant cookie whore.

I made back my costs in the first hour and sales were steady as she goes all day long. So, bravo Red Door. You brought it in a big way, and you can count me in for next year.

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Strange taste

I occasionally moonlight as an electricians assistant. Hey, a girl’s gotta have glitter money. This week we were in a semi posh house in north Evanston replacing a light fixture for the owner. This is the fixture we took down.

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Well, one very like it. The one we took down only had three horns. Can you believe anyone would want this awesome thing removed???

Well, their questionable taste is my gain, because guess who got the old fixture for her very own? This guy! The horns are all broken, sadly, or my fellah would have to tolerate this monster hanging in our house someday. But disassembling it yielded a pile of solid brass parts enough to make three or four small lamps or baby heads on pedestals, or whatever. I have that ceramic baby head that is now of course going to be a nightlight. Because who wouldn’t want a baby head glowing softly in the dark to guide their way to the loo at 3 am?

 

Thought and Memory

New project…

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So my Hugin and Munin nicho is finally in production. Which, yay, because that guy’s been sitting in my head for like a year. I want to do a bigger one, but that requires I learn to weld and have the dough for a full skeleton. But in the meantime, a smaller one suggested itself to me and I just got Hugin in the mail today. Get it? Thought and Memory? Skull and egg? I dunno, I thought it was clever as hell.

That beautiful skull came from here…https://www.etsy.com/shop/RavenRanch. It’s cast from an actual skull and it’s gorgeous. And the artist was super nice. The egg is a Bone Clones product. Which, if you’ve never heard of Bone Clones, you’re missing out. Go! http://www.boneclones.com/index.html

Incidentally, if anyone ever wants to get me a really expensive present, they can shop their catalog.

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Because omg do I want EVERYTHING in it.

 

Change of plans

So, one of the shows I was going to apply to is a wash. They only allow one medium per booth, and “consistent” mediums at that.

Even if I didn’t have issues with “consistency”, I can’t leave the knits at home. Pigtail hats make up a sizable percentage of my sales and I think I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I tried to make it happen on shadow boxes alone. Yes, I have mobiles and glitter skulls and by June, probably some large assemblage as well, but I was specifically told that the shadow boxes and mobiles and anything else I wanted to put in my tent needed to be “made out of the same stuff”.

Well, they sort of are. But if one organizer with “consistency” requirements didn’t see the connection between glitter skulls and nichos, I’m not going to assume that won’t happen again.

In any case, hats = money so if they don’t love my hats they don’t love me. Screw it.

So…new plan. I think that new plan is Custer Street. I’m tempted by familiarity to also reconsider Art in the Park. Which didn’t wow me last year, but costs the same as Custer, which I’ve never done and therefore don’t know how I’d do at.

Anyone have an opinion? I seek it!

This!

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Is happening in just two weeks! Come see me! And puppies! (And kittens and bunnies as well, lets not forget them.)

There will be, I’m told, an epic cookie event, too. Home made cookies by the pound y’all. By. The. Pound. I’m going to be in trouble.

Now, what the poster doesn’t say, and I wish it did, is that the event will be indoors. There’s a field house with a parking lot and everything. So you will not freeze your butts off. Hooray!

Traditions

My peeps and I have one holiday we really celebrate. Halloween. The others are obligatory family affairs or excuses for days off, or just annoying (remind me to tell you about my utter hatred for Valentine’s day sometime), but Halloween? Ah, that’s the good stuff.

For several years now, my friends and I gather for pumpkin carving. We drink heroic amounts of wine, gorge on pizza, and slaughter some gourds in a creative manner.

This year there were only seven. Usually we do an even dozen, but everyone had to work in the morning, and if you’ve never carved a pumpkin, let alone twelve of them, lemme tell you, it’s a long nights work.

Check it!

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