Friday, May 29, 2009


I was walking home on Bainbridge today when I saw a little object on the sidewalk in front of me. It looked like one of those smooth, translucent yellowish-white pebbles that you find in a body of water, but as i got closer, realized it was a tiny plastic fetal bird. I had seen a similar object at Seraphin Gallery at Hiro Sakaguchi's "My Dog Speaks" exhibition (Cheap, by Darla Jackson, shown left). I crouched down to look at the object more closely, and started to really admire the craftsmanship of the piece. Its large, black, perfectly spherical eyes were veiled with a cloudy layer of wax that perfectly mimicked developing eyelids. A deep red object was embedded in the bird's chest. So many layers of what appeared to be milky wax built up the flesh and sinew of the baby bird. The beak seemed to be made out of an entirely different material- opaque and hard and bright yellow. When I noticed that there were 2 tiny abrasions on the bird's perfect skin (which shone only slightly red for lack of a complete cardiovascular system), I thought of the possibility of this bird being real, but there was no setting or crime scene. The little corpse was alone on the sidewalk. There was no shattered egg or fallen nest. It had to be fake. Someone's sociology experiment or just a sick little art kid joke.
I had to move him. If he was fake, I could put him in the trash, if he was real, I needed to think of something else. I could not bear the thought of someone stepping on him.
Luckily, there was a bag of paper recyclables next to the body, and I found an empty Claritin box. With the help of a receipt from my purse, I rolled the little friend into the box. As he limply flopped into the box, I realized it was entirely real. I don't recall ever holding anything dead in my life, but you definitely know when you are. There is nothing there but cold weight.
I carried him in the Claritin box for a few blocks, trying to decide if I should be upset or confused, trying to understand if it was possible that this little creature could have gotten to where he was, in the condition he was in. I found a garden box that had no flowers planted in it and i picked up a stick and started to carve a deep, tiny hole with my right hand, holding the box in my left (which was developing a cold spot in the middle of my palm through the thin cardboard where the bird was lying). I tried to pour him gracefully into the hole, but he flopped in a tiny heap. I tried to imagine that the cool soil felt good on his skin as i packed it tightly around him. The soil, at least, felt good on my hands. I walked with the Claritin box for about 6 blocks, as Bainbridge is not particularly rich with trash cans.
It is weird to shift from objectifying something to realizing it is or was a living thing. I had enjoyed this creature's skin and transparent layers so much when I thought it was a fabrication. It punched me in the gut to realize my folly.

An interesting aside; the first sentence of my horoscope for today reads:
"Your life is complicated by your ability to see the truth, especially when this awareness makes it impossible to keep up superficial appearances."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neko Case Live in Concert

Apparently Neko just couldn't get enough of Philly and is comin' back for more in July!! If anyone is a fan and has not seen Neko perform live, you should really make it a priority to see her. She is natural and engaging with her audience, and manages to always sound even better than her albums during performances. I have seen her at the Trocadero and at the Keswick, and was absolutely blown away both times.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Neko's work, check out the video in this post.
Concert details:
WXPN welcomes Neko Case, the fiery singer-songwriter touring in support of her hugely successful new album, Middle Cyclone to the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall on Wed., Jul. 29 at 8pm. SPIN Magazine gives it a 9-out-of-10 and The New Yorker calls it "the best album of her career." This new release follows her hugely-acclaimed Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Also appearing is Jason Lytle of Grandaddy. Produced by AEG Live & Kimmel Center Presents.
(Honestly, I think I still like Fox Confessor the most of all of her albums, but each one is a tiny jewel wrapped in a beautiful silk brocade of delectably human moments, wrapped in a burrito of interesting metaphors).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chick Habit/ Laisse Tomber Les Filles

On Cheerleading, Acting, and Early Romances

My new roommate, Nicole has been raving about a movie from 1999 called "But I'm a Cheerleader," which initially sounded truly awful. We were supposed to wait until Nicole got her copy back from a friend to watch it, but we both became impatient and rented it from TLA. We've watched it twice already, and it isn't due back until Tuesday, so i think we have a good 2 or 3 more views left in us. At any rate, it was really charming, and I only tried to hide my tears at the end because Nicole wasn't obviously crying. Turns out she was doing the same, even though she has seen the movie 106 times.
The premise is that a 17ish blonde cheerleader who believes herself to be straight, gets shipped off to a gay-be-gone camp called "True Directions" by her friends and family who have become concerned with her vegetarian lifestyle and Melissa Ethridge posters. The main male camp counselor is a "former gay"and wears a series of hilarious t-shirts, one of which reads, "Straight is Great," as he continually, lustfully eyes the camp directors son, Rock.
It is one of those movies where the acting gets more convincing as the film progresses, and it makes me wonder if that is some kind of film formula, or if it is the natural result of the actors and actresses getting more into character over the months and months of filming (assuming that the movie was shot in sequence). It would make sense, if you are trying to win over an audience, to lower their expectations at the beginning of the movie, and strengthen the characters as the plot progresses.
And, yes, that is RuPaul out of drag.
The painfully fantastic soundtrack didn't really help matters when it came to crying, either. "Glass Vase Cello Case" by Tattle Tale killed me a little. It takes me back to college days where boys would play that kind of music with the desperate hope that it would inspire a girl to put out. That IS a tip, by the way, to any late-teen, early-twenty-somethings reading this: add this to your "bring a girl home" playlist on your itunes. I can't promise results, but you can bet a girl will call you "sensitive" when gossiping to her girlfriends the morning after.

The video is absolute garbage, but I wanted you to hear the song, so deal.
Other freaking phenomenal songs on the soundtrack include:
April March- Chick Habit** (my fav)
Funnel of Love- Wanda Jackson
We're in the City- Saint Etienne
If you should try and Kiss Her- Dressy Bessy
Clea DuVall is truly fantastic. Her character starts out a little 2-dimensional and her beauty slowly emerges as the movie goes on. I've always liked it when a movie can make you fall for someone that you don't find particularly attractive in the beginning (think of Peter Gibbons in Office Space- he just gets exponentially sexier for the entire 89 minutes of the movie). I think it mirrors real-life love-interests in that you can become more and more physically attracted to a person as you learn more things about them that you like or are impressed by.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Support the Arts!!!

Stephanie Beck sent out a mass email today and i followed the link and sent a message to our state rep and legislator about the issue at hand; depriving Pennsylvania Art Students and Artists of important grants and funding opportunities.
please take a moment to check out Stephanie's email below, and follow the link to support the Arts in Pennsylvania:

(May 6, 2009) - This afternoon, the Pennsylvania Senate passed its version of the FY 2010 state budget (SB 850) with a 30-20 vote. The bill, introduced on May 4, eliminates all arts and culture grants in the state through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

It still has to go through the House of Rep., so there is still time.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

"My Dog Speaks" Animal Narrative in Contemporary Art, as curated by Hiro Sakaguchi featuring work by:
Alina Josan & Amanda Miller, Anne Canfield, Bonnie Brenda Scott, Nancy Sophy, Caroline Picard, Darla Jackson, Erci McDade, John Karpinski, Laura McKinley, Sarah McEneaney, Sherif Habashi, and Caitlin Emma Perkins.
Opens at Seraphin Gallery at 1108 Pine Street in Philadelphia TONIGHT from 6pm- 8pm.
I will not be able to attend, as i will be selling my jewelry at Arts+Plus Gallery in Collingswood, NJ from 5pm-9pm, but if you are in Philadelphia for the evening, stop by the opening before hitting up the bar. I took a peek inside yesterday after the Pafa ASE opening, and was overwhelmed. It is just fantastic. I am so jeal that I am not in this show, but it is SO COOL, i am promoting it without any prior affiliation. Just love, for all of that awesome.

Time to Blog, Baby

This is my first blog entry! ever! I know you're all so proud of me. I have decided that I will use this space to promote my own art exhibitions and events, as well as other awesome goings-on in the Philadelphia area and around the world.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my new space!
the BirdQueen

birdqueen designs
artwork by gretchen diehl