Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baring it all for Art

This Friday will be a big night for me, a night that will have my nerves on end and my stress level at 11. The show “Mine/Yours” at the Gallery Project opens that night, and I worked with another artist in town to create a piece called “Born this Way” for the show. There are some who feel that I share too much on this blog and that the level of TMI is way too much. Well, this is nothing compared to what is on display at the gallery. Isaac and I photographed each other naked and these photos, 12 total, 6 of me, 6 of him, split at the waistline tell a very telling story.

What is mine? What is yours?

How are we alike, how are we different? I won’t give away what makes this piece so special. Those of you that know Isaac will understand, those that don’t, you’ll just need to come to the gallery and see for yourself.
Yes, doing a nude shot was tough, but I ask it of my models all the time (for both here at home and at JCC), and I for once was on the other side of the camera. I was sharing the layout of the prints with Gloria, one of the gallery owners and I remarked that this was probably more of me than she ever wanted to see. She laughed and said, “I’m a Mom, I’ve seen it all.”

So, if you want to see it all, by all means, stop by the Gallery Project in Ann Arbor. The opening reception is this Friday, February 25 from 6 to 9. Consider yourself invited. They are located here: 215 South 4th Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48194.

More on the show here:

Gallery Project presents Mine Yours, a multimedia exhibit in which 30 local, regional and national artists explore at various system levels issues of possession, boundaries, privacy and encroachment. At the interpersonal level Mine Yours looks at real and artificial barriers people create to separate themselves from others; at the group level the social symbols groups latch onto to establish their uniqueness; and at the international level the disputes nations have over territory, water rights, and air space. The changing relationships between governments and their citizenry will be explored in the context of growing surveillance in the ages of terrorism, globalism, and information technology. Finally, human pathologies, resulting from some of these phenomena will also be explored such as hoarding and various addictions people develop as they retreat further into real or imagined safe havens. Mine/Yours invites participating artists to comment visually on these social phenomena, and their varied impacts and behavioral adaptations. T

Contributors include Adrian Blackwell, Tom Carey, Rocco DePietro, Renee Dooley, Isaac Dunigan,Alonzo Edwards, Daniel Farnum, Diane Farris, Jason Ferguson, Todd Frahm, Mark Hereld, Megan Hildebrandt, Jane Hutton, Joe Johnson, Joseph I. Insley, Mark Kersey, Michael Kersey, Christopher Lee, Tom McMillen-Oakley, Janice Milhem, Mario Moore, Erin Moran, Sabrina Nelson, Lori Nix, Tim Pewe, Gloria Pritschet, David Reuter, Mona Shahid, Peter Williams and Viktor Witkowski.

The gallery’s website is:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hipsters with Food: A disturbing new trend

A rather alarming and disturbing trend is showing up in some of the culinary magazines I read. I had dropped a lot of my magazine subscriptions after the kids came, as I really didn’t have time to:

1) read


2) cook the complicated shit they put on their pages each month.

However, Anna brought home a fundraiser for magazine subscriptions from school and I once again joined the ranks of the culinary-informed with some deep discounts along the way. But as the magazines started coming in, I noticed something that disturbed me: Hipsters posing with food. Yes, there are a few movements going on that support this ridiculousness: sustainable food, organic food, food trucks, cottage industries, and the whole “Foodie” trend on its own, but I find the pictures of these douches most annoying. It usually shows some smug hipster posing with their food in some kind of silly but purposeful pose. They will wear a tattered t shirt with a band they have probably never listened to in their life and the adult version of the Justin Bieber cut or worse yet, dreds. If they are on a farm, they will have their Wellies on with multiple layers of L.L.Bean/Lands End clothing and some ironic animal posing with them as they both mug for the camera in a remote and/or swampy part of their farm or commune.

Apparently these Trustafarians have yet to find sustainable employment that allows them to keep their white-folk dreds and anti-establishment cred so they are cooking up bacon slushees, J├Ągermeister popsicles, and vegan/gluten free cookies for sale via baskets lowered to the street via a rope (for real). Why the anger Tom? Let me tell you. I am all for cottage industries. As an artist, that is how most of us get started, but with this cottage-like production comes apparently medieval sanitation. When I was in Ponce, PR with the Latino-who-shall-not-be-named a long time ago we were sent to the beach and were told to eat from this crescent-shaped line of food shacks peddling fish and other Puerto Rican goodies by a local. After eating some amazing octopi and conch, I spent the better part of the vacation on the toilet wishing I was dead and cursing the Cephalopod wrecking havoc on my lower GI.

While I consider myself a culinary adventurer, I tread carefully when it comes to food prep. Oh sure, my kitchen would probably be shut down and declared unfit for food production on close inspection, but at least I wash my hands and clean the damn thing. Most of the Foodsters (my new name for them) are in front of some old truck rescued from the dump with trippy paint jobs and bumper stickers. The truck or van is usually in such bad shape a desperate pedophile would probably shake his head and say “no thanks.” Or they are on a bike with a Dorothy-esque basket delivering their small batch (but high bacteria!) lukewarm soup to their unsuspecting victims clients in their gentrified neighborhood. Call me a prude; but I want my food prepared by someone wearing a white coat and latex gloves. Most of these Foodsters would be more at home slinging ink or at a methadone clinic by the way they are dressed. Sure, it’s fun to look cool, but I draw the line when fashion gets in the way of hygiene.

I will make one exception to this rule and that’s the culinary goodness served up each year at the Jackson County Fair. You can see the food vendors coming in on the freeway for a few weeks before the fair starts. As the Carnies gather and the tooth count drops, you can begin to smell the deep-friend delicacies as the fair is put together. Their trailers with their colorful airbrushed designs and beckoning lights are irresistible to me and my cholesterol level each summer. My clogged arteries cannot resist anything that is deep-fried or served to me with a greasy napkin on a stick. Eating at the fair is like a really bad one night stand. Sure it’s fun when it’s going on, but the day after and your next trip to the doctor ain’t so much fun.

As the magazines come in, I hope to see less and less of this trend, I hope it dies a quick (and painful) death. Foodsters, you’re on notice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Second Fiddle no more

My lovely (and pain-free) dentist, Kevin Timm, asked me today why I never posted anything about Eli. He wondered if we had actually gone through with the adoption as I never mentioned him in my posts on the blog or on Facebook. I won’t lie, the posts I put on Facebook are similar to that of the six o’clock news: if it bleeds, it leads. But in my case, if it flips off another student, calls 911, or pisses on the front porch, it’s going to get air time. I should probably defer to Tod at this point, as he regularly brings up the point of Eli being the second child (as is he) and having to grow up in the shadow of an older sibling (blah, blah, blah, whine, whine whine). Yes, we have a ton more pics of Anna in the house, but to be fair, she’s been with us longer. Yes, Anna has gone more places with us, but again, she’s been with us longer. And, for the record, Eli is a pretty mellow kid. He’s still not very verbal, and relies on his inner-Viking to get his points across to us: grunt, ummmmmm, point, point, yell, ummmmmm, grunt. He is getting better, but his two favorite words remain “NO” and most recently “WHY?” Yes, he’s two.

He has a wicked sense of humor; one that I am certain will get us called to school when he is older. When he sees that Anna is in trouble or is mad or crying about something, he will offer a “ HA HA!” to her misery. This inflames her to no end and will often end in him getting clocked by his sister. We have warned her that if he continues on his current growth path, she will soon be under him getting the snot beat out of her when he gets angry. This is one of those lessons that we have told her about, but until it actually happens, I doubt she’ll believe us. I will do my best to refrain from saying the dreaded “ I told you so…” when it actually happens and she has a bloody nose.

Yes, Eli is the easy one. He’s compliant and will usually do what you ask of him. He is good at self-disciplining. If he doesn’t want to do something, he will go and give himself a timeout on the steps instead of doing what you require of him. Go figure. He also loves to dance and shake his little ass. The other afternoon, Anna was at Daisy Scouts, Tod was at a massage, and Eli and I were at home watching the Grammy’s on the DVR. He got up on the coffee table and danced to every performer. I rewound and played Lady Gaga’s performance of “Born this way” twice, as the song is great and It’s perfect for dancing like a fool. After the second time through he pointed at the remote and said “GAGA!”

I almost cried.

So yeah, I have two kids, but one is always stealing the limelight. Eli is the Jan to our own Marcia Anna, but he’s becoming his own person more and more each day. I look forward to each day and what it will bring and what my little man will surprise me with next.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yes, we're still here.

Hello dear readers!

The life of a parent, professor, and as of late, pornographer, has been too much. I usually skip over blog entries like this when I find them on my favorite blogs, but I must beg for your understanding in this case.

Over the past week, we have had to:

1. Deal with the SNOWPACOLYPSE!

2. Deal with pink eye, once again this year. Not to mention Fifth’s Disease and the remnants of Strep throat.

3. Deal with a five year old whose routine was disrupted by the SNOPACOLYPSE!

4. Work and other life issues too numerous to mention here.

5. Get the artwork ready for the Dirty Show in Detroit AND prep for MINE/YOURS at the Gallery Project (more on this later). Art is hard.

And to top it all off, we welcomed our newest member to the Oakley (and McMillen-Oakley) Clan, Miss Kayleigh Anne Oakley. Her adoption was finalized this week in Columbus and we couldn’t be happier. Congrats to Uncle Doug and Aunt LaLa and cuz Olivia.
(yeah, Bitches, try and be this cute!)

So yes, the week has sucked ass, but we’re heading into a rockin’ weekend with the opening of the Dirty Show, the Daddy (and Papa) Daughter Dance on Saturday, and Valentine’s Day on Monday. We can’t wait. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know how it all turns out.


Tom, Tod, Anna, and Eli.
BTW, if you want to know more about the show in Detroit, proceed with caution to:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No ads in Times Square? Really?

Some readers will know that I love me some Morgan Spurlock. However, I have to step in and say that his recent project, an internet based initiative to remove ads from Times Square in New York City is full o’ crap. One of the things that makes Times Square so interesting is the plethora of ads at all levels. Every time we go to New York, I have to pass through this amazing part of the city. Yes, it’s garish and it’s a visual assault, but that’s what makes it fun. I hate to look like a tourist with my head pushed back straining to see what’s new each time, but I know I do and I probably annoy the native New Yorkers as I stop and try and take pics of the amazing ads hanging above us.

Yes, we are a nation that is full of commercial opportunities, and to me, Times Square is the Sistine Chapel of consumerism. Can you imagine removing the murals in this small chapel because they are too much? Me neither. Or how about toning down Las Vegas and dimming the lights? Didn’t think so.

Times Square will be another boring urban canyon without the ads and a piece of America will be gone.

Morgan, I love you and your work, but this is a battle that doesn’t need to be fought. Find something that really matters to take on.
Your fan,


More on his project here:
More on our debut on his show here: