Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fatherhood Friday: The Queen will see you now

Ready to rock the Halloween Parade tomorrow. Still working on getting Eli in his costume, going to be a tough one. Anna, however, would wear this 24/7 if she could.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rachael Ray: A tribute

Love her, or hate her, and to be fully honest, I do both on a regular basis. Maybe it’s her obnoxious use of E.V.O.O. for extra virgin olive oil, which doesn’t really shorten anything, as she has to repeat “extra virgin olive oil” after she says it each time on the show. Or maybe it’s how each time she goes to her cupboards or fridge she tries to balance all the staples in her arms and makes a big show of how handy she is carrying the stuff to the counter. Look, I can get an entire load of laundry to the bed for sorting and folding when I unload the dryer, but you don’t see me doing it on a show. Stop it. Get a tray and stop with the theatrics. And then there are her Rachaelized vocabulary words which grate my nerves like a hunk of cheese on a micro-plane: sammies for sandwiches, and stoup for stew/soup hybrids. Stop it Rachael, stop it NOW!

But I have found my new hero in her, and it’s not a hero Sammie, it’s her new show, A Week in a Day.

God bless you Rachael, you have done what some have tried, and I think, by golly, you did it. I recorded two of her shows on the Cooking Channel and sat down pen and note pad in hand to watch and take notes. I was home sick with some kind of seasonal ick, so doing anything food related was a rather dicey situation, but this show made me perk right up and take notice. She delivers on her promise of five meals in an afternoon of prep time for reheating later in the week. All of the dishes are hearty in makeup, as they have to sit in the fridge for a few days before service, which is fine. They are also pretty kid-friendly, which is great.

With the two kids, our work schedule, the kid’s schedules, and our apparent rock star lifestyle, a show like this is a big win on all accounts. Our cholesterol levels (it seems that both Tod and I have pudding for blood) as well as our waist lines will attest to the fact that we are eating processed and convenience food on a regular basis. Well, thanks to St. Rachael, we can hopefully get back on track and get healthy again. Here is a link to the show’s website:

My only suggestion would be to have a readymade grocery list for each week on the website that could be printed out. Yes, I said it. Make it REALLY easy for us Rachael. Certainly one of your many minions could do this for you each week. Thanks for all you do, you’ve made getting a healthy dinner on the table easy-peasy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fatherhood Friday: Halloween thoughts

From my friend Michael at Spo-Reflections, thanks for the inspiration this busy week!
1 – What was the scariest movie you have ever seen? It would have to be the Exorcist. I snuck down to our basement when I was a kid and watched it. Freaked my shit right out. To this day, the final scenes in that film give me the creeps.

2- What was your favorite Hallowe’en costume as a child? When I went as a witch.

3- Given enough money what would be your fantasy Hallowe’en costume? Edgar A. Poe with a bunch of ravens on him. Think a Goth version of the Birds.

4- When was the last time you went trick or treating? With the kids at the various family events. It never gets old. They are usually asleep when we get home so Tod and I can “edit” their candy collections.

5- What is your favorite Hallowe’en candy? Smarties.

6- Tell us about a scary nightmare you once had. Since the kids have come into my life, the really scary ones involve them in perilous situations. I find it hard to go back to sleep after that.

7 – What is your supernatural fear? That the three different dead people that are now in my mouth (from the bone grafts) will come back to life some day. I have instructed all my friends and students to just chop off my head in the case of a zombie uprising.

8-What is your ‘creepy-crawlie’ fear? Maggots, hands down.

9- Tell us a time you saw a ghost or heard something go bump in the night. This happens with alarming frequency in our house. It would be easier to find a day that it DIDN’T happen.

10- Would you stay overnight in a real Haunted House? Have you seen our house? We have babysitters and house sitters who will not return.

11-Are you a traditionalist or a creative carver of you Jack-o-Lantern? Bitch please…

12- How much do you decorate the house at Hallowe’en? Bitch please…

13- What do you want on your Tombstone? Bitch please…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Art Prize 2010: A recap

Art Prize 2010 is now in the history books, and this year, I actually went and saw the works displayed. I shelved my distaste for the DeVos family and drove north to see the works the day after the winning piece was announced. Chris LaPorte’s piece, an epic pencil drawing bigger than some homes here in Jackson is truly something to behold. But should it have won? I may be quickly treading into Gretchen (from this season’s Project Runway) territory here with the following comments, but I think that they need to be shared. I am not intending to toss shade on this man and his efforts, or his win, but I have a few points to make. Yes, the piece is great. It’s huge, it’s superbly executed, and it strikes at the heart of many who have had family serving in the military. But for all those positives, I think there are some glaring negatives that were either over-looked or simply ignored by the voters/judges.

For example: in my twenty years of teaching, each year, some bright-eyed student will show up with a portfolio of drawings copied from magazine photos. They can’t wait to show me their immaculate rendering of Heath Ledger as the Joker or have me marvel at the detail they put in to Megan Fox’s lips. Their pieces show great artisanship, but aside from that one quality, that’s it. When those same students are put in front of the simplest of still life set ups, they crumble.

From LaPorte’s own mouth comes the fact that he projected and then traced out the many figures in the massive composition. I think that the piece may have been more interesting had he just started laying the picture plane out without the aid of a projector and let the fun start. That’s a challenge.

Yes, he spent 800 hours on the piece, that’s 20 weeks, or about 6 months to fill in all the value on the men’s faces. In my opinion, LaPorte’s work is nothing more than what those students share with me each year, but on a grander level. I didn’t see much innovation, nor did I see much creativity. He was simply filling in the value/matching texture and that’s about it. I am concerned that the voting for Art Prize will go to a safe piece each year, hotel art if you would.

I shared my photos from my trip with my beginning drawing students today and when I mentioned that he traced this picture out from a projection, a voice came out of the dark and said, “Hey, that’s cheating!” After this student clarified her point, a few murmurs of agreement came from the rest of the class, acknowledging that his piece was good, but…

There were so many other pieces that showed much more innovation and creativity that it just made me sad to walk around the city’s many venues and see these pieces that didn’t win. My personal favorite, and an “ooooo” invoking piece with my students was David Sprigg’s “Vision” an amazing piece done with layers of clear plastic, creating an amazing 3D image.

Beili Liu’s piece “Lure/Wave” is an amazing installation that I regret not seeing at night. During the day, when my buddy Randy and I strolled by, it was difficult to see, let alone photograph the images in the space. However, it remains embedded in my memory.

And then there’s Steam Pig. What can I say here that will do that piece justice? It was just fucking amazing. Here is the link to the collective’s proposal to Art Prize.

So yeah, I am now a fan of Art Prize, and god help me, I may even enter a piece next year and see what floats. Until then, something to think about for the DeVos clan… I am certain that the economic impact of this event on the city is astounding. After listening to a story on NPR this morning, it seems that Detroit is about ready to fall into ruins financially. Why not host Art Prize in Detroit every other year? Grand Rapids has a stronger economy, so why not share the wealth around the state? Just something to consider.

Until next year, stay hot Rick.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Me, at the show.

A cool and fun group of folks stopped out for the reception this weekend. Before the show, Tod snapped this picture of me. He said I looked like a librarian with the vest and bowtie. I was honored.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fatherhood Friday: showing off

If you are not in the Jackson area and would like to see the images in "The Dangerous Lives of Children" collection, please follow this link:

If you ARE in Jackson, get your ass over to the Bon Ton Room to check out the installation before October 11th.

If you would like a print of any of the images, please let me know. I'd love to help you with the printing and framing.

Remember: Support Local Artists. We support you!