Archive for the The “Cover Me” exhibit Category

What do you get when you make work that addresses trends in art?

Posted in Activism?, Art & Competition, Exhibits, The "Cover Me" exhibit on March 4, 2008 by Admin

I started to write a comment to the comment to the below post about the Valley Advocate article; [sic] ” I do not respect art that simply responds to a political agenda. So I guess the initial premise for the show did not intrigue me, so in fact I was glad to see a wide range of response.”, and then I decided to make my comment into a post.

In reading an article in The Arts Newspaper about shock art in The Netherlands, I came upon the following; “It was Mr Hof’s opinion that “shock art” is on its way out in the Netherlands, and that contemporary Dutch artists are now making work that is more politically and socially engaged.”

The most discussed display at Art Rotterdam was this dog which doubled up as a cat. By the artist “Tinkebell”, it was on offer for   $6,500

The most discussed display at Art Rotterdam was this dog which doubled up as a cat. By the artist “Tinkebell”, it was on offer for   $6,500.

“ROTTERDAM. Most of the discussion surrounding the ninth edition of Art Rotterdam in the Netherlands last month (7-10 February) centred around a single work of art: a taxidermied dog, which, when turned inside out, became a cat.”

I suppose this bit would suggest that artists follow trends in art (sometimes creating “shock” pieces), and then sometimes even switch trends. To me that seems a lot like engaging in a theme, for making work that is au courant could be seen as a purposeful effort toward creating work to satisfy and capture the thematic attention of the art world and its market.

And then in today’s newsletter from The Society of Arts and Crafts is this:

Upcoming Exhibitionsceramic cups with image of Batman&Robin kissing
Political Craft
May 9 – July 27, 2008
Opening Reception, Friday, May 9, 6-8pm

With the upcoming Presidential election looming, The Society of Arts and Crafts is taking its own political poll, of sorts, by inviting a select group of artists to present their current ideas on politics. Exhibited work will comment upon a broadly interpreted “politics” and will tackle issues as diverse as: the environment, consumerism, race, religion, security, sexuality, terrorism and war. Partial list of exhibiting artists: David Allyn · Ian Anderson · Sonya Clark · Michael Corney · Nuala Creed · Rod Northcutt · Richard Notkin · Bird Ross · Yumi Roth · Joyce Scott · Christian Tedeschi.


“Cover me, Uncovered”, in the Valley Advocate

Posted in Narcissisim, Philosophy?, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 27, 2008 by Admin

Below, below, is a comment I posted on the Valley Advocate site in response to the article in today’s issue. I wonder if more people will comment on the article. I think comments sections offer valuable real estate for discourses on topics although people seem reticent about commenting. You can comment with complete anonymity–I really can’t unearth your identity. It is safe to comment anonymously. Share your comments.

But first, a linkage timeline:

The original post in its original venuistic glory which started the whole thing can be found here. This includes the comment (which I took as a dare) from Anne Laprade inviting me to make this post into a show. It also clearly states that the post was inspired by a recent 9and not the first) cut in arts coverage in a local paper. It is important to note that this show did not come out of a sudden indictment on my part about the quantity or quality of arts coverage but rather was inspired by yet another cut, a further diminishment of arts coverage, and editorial decisions to replace a space set aside for arts coverage with American Idol coverage. It also begins to ask why the masses would rather read about a reality show about non-local aspiring musicians than the local arts reality show playing out in their own backyard.

A post on this blog in which I discuss the premise of the show, include the curatorial statement, and include bios of the participating artists can be found here.

The post on this blog about the Boston globe article is here. And the actual Globe article is here. Then there are
Pictures from the extremely well-attended reception. The images show a gallery crowded with people. A pretty good turnout for a show that didn’t get free line listings with the reception time and place. How did we get all those people to come? Well, this plays into a discussion about the obstacles papers face due to the proliferation of online media and which I will post about one of these days. We got that crowd via a combination of traditional USPS postcard mailing and email announcements and blog posts here. So, if we can’t get free listings about receptions and show dates then of course we are going to turn to emails and blogs to get the word out. The blogosphere is where I turn when the traditional media outlets lack room. The popularity of my old newsletter suggests a high need for a place to at the very least announce upcoming shows.

And a half page article later is The Hampshire Gazette article.

Which, combined with the advocate article, inspired Geoff Edgers at the The Boston Globe to post about all the coverage this show got in his blog, “The Exhibitionist” at, the show’s second appearance in that blog.

I thought the article brought up many good points. I guess I’ll get to them later as I am temporarily stuck on the last two sentences, which may be of some delight to a few critics perhaps. I heard many criticisms about even putting this show on and those were from fellow artists. And if you read my comment below you’ll see that there are two omissions in the article that I wanted to point out, one of which I think, while inadvertant, is important to our case in both a factual and ironic way. I remain proud of this show and proud of what we accomplished. Discussion is always a good thing.

And if I falied in some ways as a first-time curator then I admit that and I own it. I was too timid to approach the show by curating the work and so I just invited artists to address the topic and took what was dropped off. I like all of the work in the show, relevant or not. And I want to point out that while Tobey called Anila Zaidi’s work “flip”, I saw it as thoughtful and brave regardless of how it might measure up to demographics and pie charts. I am a fan of Anila’s college-ruled series and to know Anila is to know that she is not flip. Maggie Nowinski’s piece did actually address the theme. The images are representative of a feeling brought about perhaps by the possibility of creating work in a vacuum of sorts. Line Bruntse’s piece also seems relevant; the tile, “Medonna” suggests to me a shrine to oneself and the bathtub madonna construction calls to mind the shrines people often create in their own yards as a worship piece. Perhaps she is suggesting that without outside ‘worship” or coverage, we need to create our own or that self-worship replaces outside acclaim. This is guesswork as I have no text on her piece to enlighten me as to its intent. Again–if you have a thought about the show or the work why not comment either here or on the Valley Advocate site.

One last thing before the comment: an excerpt from an email from Tobey (in garish teal text, as he called the hue of my beauty shop chair’s fabulously retro-tacky vinyl upholstery), pasted with his permission (I consider email discussion sacred and do not share people’s emails to me without permission) because I like these words better than some in the article–

I think the show was, in ways uncommon here, really good: You found talented people, who work in a wild variety of media, the space was laid out very well, and you throw a great opening party. You could have a whole new money-losing career as a curator, I bet. And on second thought, maybe that’s not such a bad idea, if you could actually get some gallery or museum to provide a weekly salary… Seriously…

And, for what it’s worth, I would never put you in the merely beautiful object school, nor among the “too many”, because you take real and bold chances in your work, and you work really really hard at it. It does suck that there’s not a better world to receive/reward what you do so well–I think you’re among the people that perhaps would do better in the big city, but who aren’t there because of what gets sacrificed in the way of humanity, grounded connections.

I am grateful that you devoted 4 pages, many pictures and a cover (!) in this week’s advocate to cover the show. The article was well-written and brought up many points which are grounded, provocative and certainly merit discussion. Did we make our case? I don’t know and my therapist is also at a loss on this. We put on a show about the lack of arts coverage and got a Boston Glove article, a Hampshire Gazette article and this Advocate article. If nothing else we got coverage I guess. The Boston Globe article was, yes, “more of the same” as in a non-critical piece, but Geoff Edgers, the author, is an Arts Reporter and not an Arts Reviewer and so he “reported” on the show. (And, not only did we get the Globe article, I got lunch and lobster as well. More sustenance for a struggling artist perhaps–although the lobster was a bit dry.)
Anyway-I am still digesting the article and will likely be back here to ramble some more semi-coherencies but for now I am mainly stuck on the last two sentences of the article. Let’s say, for the sake of friendly debate and lovefests, (for you know I love you as much as I love starting sentences with “anyway” and putting things in parentheses) that some of the artists did not address the theme; the possibilities for this would be more of an infinite nature than a singular conclusion that it was due to a lack of regard for the theme, I think.
If I were asked to be in a show about the war and I chose to submit a glass-covered vacuum cleaner would that mean that the premise of the show was somehow invalid or pointless? Would my action-driven opinion even render it so? Maybe that would mean that I just want people to see my vacuum. Maybe it would mean I have no room in my studio to store that vacuum. Maybe it would mean that all I want is another line item on my exhibition history and don’t even care what the theme of the show is, as long as I get to be in a show. Or maybe it would mean that I think that the war sucks our souls. Who knows what it would mean.

But I don’t know that the work in this show that seemingly doesn’t address the theme necessarily means that “the premise failed to grip the imagination” of the participating artists and as such undervalues the theme. Arts coverage is important to all artists. Maybe there are those artists that eschew coverage. And if any of the artists in this show are of that ilk and accepted the invitation anyway then shame on them. I don’t know how I’d conclusively be able to discern that. I am not sure that happened. Perhaps I will have a polygraph ready when they come to pick up their work and will report back, like that new reality show.

Also-Lisa Scollan’s piece, on the front page of the print version of the article, is called, “Self-Coverage”, and is disembodied human parts engaged in “self-love”, which makes a relevant point. I wish the title of her piece was captioned below the image for it is somewhat ambiguous without it. And in a somewhat ironic twist, given the theme of the show, Larry’s Slezak’s piece on the cover of the Advocate is uncredited.

But still – great article and I still love you and will be posting all of my thoughts here and on my blog at which has the curatorial statement and the text and links for all of the press to date.
Your pal-

My Stay at the 5-Star Sanitarium

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, Animal Stuff, Confusion, Philosophy?, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 21, 2008 by Admin


I am writing this from my stay at a sanitarium. It is very peaceful and quiet and I am eating a lot of chocolate and there are monkeys everywhere and they are hilarious and one of them keeps giving this cat a bath in the sink. He keeps scrubbing and scrubbing. I keep telling him that the cat is clean already and he just laughs and keeps scrubbing. The monkey smells and should really scrub himself but life is not always logical, especially in my sanitarium. The cat seems bemused by the whole thing, even though it is being washed with apple orchard scent palmolive, so I ask him does he not mind, with a question mark at the end, (but I refrain from using a fake british accent), and he just smiles demurely. They seem to have an understanding. There is heat so it is warm and I can adjust the heat up and down, which I do, frequently, to conserve energy. There is a washer and dryer so clearly it is a 5 star sanitarium and my clothes are very clean, including my favorite red hoodie sweatshirt that I wear every day a lot. I wish I could put the interior of my car in the washer but suspect that is not logical and I came here for logic. They have those dryer sheets so I feel pretty special and my static quotient is down while cleanliness is off the charts. I almost miss static, but not really.

There is no jello, which is surprising, but I vow one day, when I again have a kitchen of my own, to revisit my old hobby of making interesting jello mold constructions of colorful jiggly goodness. I think about having a little roadside jello stand outside my studio in lower Holyoke (which I call DownHo) and sitting out there all day till everyone buys my jello fabulosities and I make a mental note to wear sunscreen. I wonder if my jello stand will get jacked. I wonder what I’ll wear – probably my red hoodie sweatshirt and maybe the plaid apron I bought at Kelsey’s yard sale last fall. Then I remember that out here we call them tag sales.

I have gained 5 pounds as ordered but need to make an appointment at the dentist and stop biting my nails. The Fedex man left packages on the step which I suspect are tubes of money since they are too light to be full of sushi but they are not addressed to me so I don’t open them, and sometimes birds sing and squirrels look at me and then run off. There are brick walkways and I count the bricks. I tried multiplying them but got confused and it seemed pointless anyway.
There is plenty of laundry detergent and mineral water and fresh lemons and I am getting so much rest that sometimes I have energy and I clean things. The toaster is now free of crumbs. I took everything out of the fridge and cleaned it and then put it all back in but in different places because I couldn’t quite figure out the system and there is no one to ask. I laugh when I think about how no one will ever be able to find anything again and wonder if or when they’ll figure out that the entire contents of the fridge are now arranged according to the dewey decimal system. I haven’t tackled the freezer because it is full of meat and I don’t want to go there so much.

At night they show old dvds of Freaks and Geeks and I am reminded of high school and how I, and my hair, used to sit next to Jim Brown in history class and would show up high and then show him the entire contents of my pocketbook, one item at a time. He was from Texas and was very patient. He dressed slightly differently than the rest of us and was very nice. I wonder if he owns oil rigs now and thinking that makes me think that he should go to the gallery where my show is up and buy things before it comes down next week so I’ll have money to move to a new studio and won’t need to go stay at sanitariums.

I have grilled cheese and artichoke hearts on a TV tray while I watch Freaks and Geeks and the TV tray goes with the 80’s in the show. I am somehow reminded of one time in college when I mailed an actual handwritten letter in the real postal mail to my next door neighbor Al who was like my idol because he was accidentally hilarious and had a tarantula in a cage decorated with pictures from the SI swimsuit issue and he played Highway to Hell by ACDC at full blast every morning while showering. This meant that that was my alarm clock as well as my own shower theme song as our bathrooms where next to each other and we had the same morning class schedule. I am conditioned now such that when I hear that song I feel like it is time to shower. Anyway-I wrote telling him I was somehow in deepest imaginary ancient Mesopotamia and at a midnight ceremony they had sacrificed my maroon suede pumps by throwing them into a volcano. He didn’t think the sacrificial ceremony bit was so weird as was the act of mailing the letter. He kept that letter.

And most importantly, after 3 days I am finally able to clear the voices from my head.


In actuality I am housesitting at a place of sanitarium-like reprieve for not being my usual place of being. My usual place of being has a new neighbor and a new cat. For 3 weeks I have listened to stomping around at odd hours and a screaming, howling, crying cat whose favorite time to get crazy is between midnight and 5 am, although the howling and running and knocking over is pretty much 24/7. But between midnight and 5 am it likes to run around and knock things over even more, all while screaming and crying. Sleep deprivation studies show that this can make people need to go away. Only after 3 days of housesitting was I finally able to get that sad screaming sound out of my head and sleep through the night. And so now I need a Jim Brown, or anyone who is not fictional and has oil rigs or fedex packages of cash, to go buy all of my work so I will have funding to move to a new and improved place. It could happen.

The real point of this post is actually the Hampshire Gazette article in the post below. How amazing is it that Kristina Tedeschi wrote that article? I wonder if she has a pet trantula or listens to Highway to Hell in the shower? At any rate she gamely and fairly addressed the show addressing arts coverage and I think that’s spectacular. She was very nice on the phone, which goes with the niceness of the article.

Next Wednesday the voices tell me there will be an article in the Advocate. At any rate-I posted the text and one of the images from the article below because at my sanitarium we have high speed dsl. But at my sanitarium the PDFs I made were broken, like my ability to sleep. Maybe I’ll get that sorted out too.


Posted in Activism?, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 21, 2008 by Admin

The Cover Me exhibit is extended 2 days through Thursday, February 28, 2008. Gallery hours are noon to 6 pm.From today’s gazette, below:

Artists’ exhibit a plea for more media coverage


A close-up of Cummington artist Larry Slezak’s free-standing installation “News, Weather and Sports.” Click for larger image.

The idea for the show was born last April, when Holyoke artist Mo Ringey posted an entry on her blog, “Art & About with Mo,” bemoaning the fact that local newspapers just weren’t covering the arts like they used to.

“Support for the arts is becoming more and more scant in this community. Like the moon,” Ringey wrote, “it is waning quickly.”

“What if we all tried really hard to convince the local papers to cover art again?” Ringey wondered. She proposed having a group show about the lack of arts coverage. Ringey is well-known in the Pioneer Valley for her tempered glass-covered artwork. Her mosaic pieces, which often incorporate vintage home appliances like televisions and refrigerators, have been exhibited widely in the area.

The day after the post appeared on Ringey’s blog, Anne LaPrade, director of Hampden Gallery at UMass, responded to her query by urging her to organize a show.

“All I can say is – if the interest is there – we’ve got the venue,” LaPrade wrote on Ringey’s blog.

Now, 10 months later, “Cover Me,” a collection of work that tackles what the dozen artists in the show say is spotty arts coverage in the local press is on view at the Hampden Gallery through Tuesday. And with a title as demanding as this one, the show begs to be, well – covered.

But it also begs the question: Why is it important to artists that their work makes it into the pages of a newspaper?

“From my point of view, I think it’s just important that people know what you’re doing,” Ringey said in a recent telephone interview. “It feels more successful if a lot of people look at it.”

It helps a lot, too, when you can include press clippings with grant or exhibition applications, she says.

“It almost validates your work,” said Ringey, who curated the show.

Ringey handpicked the artists in the show based on their reputations for bringing specific topics to the fore in their previous work, she said – or, as she puts it, “people not necessarily painting the next fruit bowl.”

“Cover Me” includes work in several mediums, from a video with sound installation to graphite and charcoal on paper to soap. While each work addresses the press’s role in covering the arts, some pieces make more pointed references than others.

In Brooklyn-based artist Jon Whitney’s “Freedumb,” a photographic C-print – a color or monochrome print made on negative-type color or monochrome photographic paper – two shotguns are pictured one above the other. One is pink, while the other is blue, representing what Whitney says, in written comments accompanying the piece, are newspapers’ tendency to cover violence, sex, and the “war” between the sexes.

“Pointing out what is covered demonstrates what is not covered,” he writes.

A free-standing installation by Cummington resident Larry Slezak, called “News, Weather and Sports,” looks like a four-sided window, forming a kind of square, transparent-walled chamber. Piled on top of the chamber’s black-and-white checkered floor is a tall, wild tangle of barbed wire. The window frames are covered with old issues of a Springfield newspaper. The accompanying text explains that newspapers are quick to cover the basics, like weather, news and sports, but are less apt to write about the arts.

“When the soul of the arts is tortured,” Slezak writes, “we all suffer.”

The silence of the small gallery is punctuated by a video installation by Brooklyn artist Carey Ascenzo. Over a backdrop of footage from the 1976 film “All the President’s Men,” which stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the Watergate scandal while with the Washington Post, Ascenzo superimposes the faces of several people who were all asked to say the same thing: “Let’s put this baby to bed!” The saying comes from a term commonly used to indicate a newspaper is ready for the next day’s publication.

The lively debate that the exhibit, and its title, have sparked has been interesting, Ringey says. At the exhibit’s opening reception at the beginning of the month, she said, “people kept saying, you’ve gotten really good coverage in the past, what’s your problem?”

“I had to keep explaining, it’s not always about me, it’s about other people,” said Ringey.

Other artists in the show are: Line Bruntse of Lancaster, Pa.; Ian Burns of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mike Karmody of Florence; Greg Kline of Leverett; Holly Murray of Wilbraham; Lisa Scollan of Northampton; Maggie Nowinski of Easthampton; and Anila Zaidi of Ludlow.

“Cover Me” is on display at the Hampden Gallery in the Southwest Residential Area at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst through Tuesday. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 545-3394.

Kristina Tedeschi can be reached at


I love google alerts.


The Globe Article:

Making Points.

Posted in Activism?, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 14, 2008 by Admin

Sometimes people make simple points and they get shot down with that old, “stop looking for handouts”, phrase which seems meant to whither and dismiss other points of view, rather than discuss and debate. Other times people make points in hilarious ways and they elicit all manner of responses. I love reading comments sections. I found this article a while ago:


Couple Paints “FU FAA” On Roof To Protest Jet Noise

Fed up with a change in flight patterns that made them sleep in bed at night with earplugs, one Philly couple decided to paint “FUCK YOU FAA. NO FLY ZONE” and a symbol for “no planes” on the top of their roof. Note: in real life, it says “fuck” but the newspaper photoshopped it to just say “FU.” Homeowner Michael Hall said they had tried to lodge complaints with the FAA noise-complaint hotline over 20 times, but whenever they called, an answering machines would apologize for not being able to take their message as the mailbox was full. [FULL STORY AND COMMENTS]


I found this article (pasted below) the other day. The writer suggests that arts coverage is a good thing. The comments suggest that such suggestions are “looking for handouts”?

The arts deserve support

StoryChat 2 Comments

Recently the Star Press has featured articles on what can be done to make Muncie a better place to live. That is good and I commend the editors. The emphasis in these articles has mostly focused on economic, political, and education issues. That is partly good. I want to propose another area of our community that should also be emphasized and that is the arts.

We are fortunate to have so many arts organizations, large and small, in our geographic area. It would be difficult to imagine East Central Indiana without a symphony orchestra, art museum, civic theater, Masterworks Chorale, Cornerstone Center for the Arts and the list could go on and on. The arts are a necessary and vital part of a community. These arts organizations exist because there are and have been those with the foresight to recognize the civic virtue of having community arts programs…

The reader comments below do not reflect the opinion of The Star Press and are the responsibility of the individual author.


  (Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:32 pm)If the above post is intended as a value judgment it is ill-advised. A newspaper is in business to inform and no one will come to anything unless he or she knows about it.Would the writer of the above post suggest that the StarPress not cover athletic events? Those are also cultural events; they rightly deserve and they get competent coverage. Meaningful coverage of arts events would add to the entertainment value of our city — both for residents and outsiders, who would come and spend money!Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:04 am


  Just like every thing else in life, if it’s good they will come. Stop looking for hand outs.Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:32 pm


Posted in Activism?, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 12, 2008 by Admin

Today’s Boston Globe as one big whopping jpg. The link to this live page is here. That’s me in the red sweatshirt that I wear a lot, always.

This reminds me of a practical joke in my old office in Boston which involved a non-existent reporter. I’ll save that post for later in the week perhaps. Geoff Edgers, the Boston Globe reporter who wrote this article, is clearly very fair and balanced. In retrospect I slipped some interesting and embarrassing things yet none of them made it into this article. Of course I plagued him with emails which all began similarly with things like, “You’re not going to include that bit about how I am afraid of the dark, are you?” and, “Um, did I remember to say it was off the record before telling you about [insert random embarrassing thing here]?

And in today’s ArtsJournal.


Cover Me – Reception Images and Coverage

Posted in Activism?, Communication, Misadventures in Art, Narcissisim, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 9, 2008 by Admin

This morning the Boston Globe article is coming out. It seems that due to a space crunch it has been delayed a few days. (update–it is out. Click here.) I am afraid that I have big crazy hair, in the images which inspired my big hair story post below. The hilarity of my life and my faux-saintly cross to bear is to be always somehow embarrassed by images of me. It was a windy and rainy day – the sort of day that necessitates coiffley-restraint. Why didn’t I bring something to tie my hair back for the photo shoot? I know I did have bungee cords in the trunk of my car. I wish I’d thought of that. The one picture of myself that I don’t mind as much is the one on the cover of Dean Nimmer’s book. When I saw that image for the first time my first thought was that when I put in highlights evidently I only get the top layer, thus creating a hair color gradient of sorts. My second thought was that my friend Cassandra gives great haircuts. I didn’t know what I looked like from the back. At the least I am glad that it is not too obvious that those jeans have duct tape patching the holes in the lower pocket region.

Anyway – reception photos can be found here and I am posting a few below, which link to larger images. From my perspective, everyone else looks perfectly fabulous.

I guess the story will now come out Monday or Tuesday, closer to the rumored Valley Advocate article which I am told will be next Wednesday. I feel it necessary, because of comments I keep hearing due to my magnetic feedback field, that this exhibit was not an attack but simply artists addressing repeated cuts in arts coverage in the form of their art. It seems so logical to my non-magnetic logic field report. According to my personal quadratic formula, it is a valid and thoughtful commentary and the work in the show that addressed the issue did so nicely and artfully.

All images by Hana Skirkey

Cover Me - Mo Ringey

Mike Karmody’s piece, “NIMBY“, (not in my backyard) provided the interactive entertainment and made for some pretty great photo opportunities.

Cover Me - Mo Ringey

Cover Me - Mo Ringey

Cover Me - Mo Ringey

Hair and Water

Posted in Activism?, Communication, Narcissisim, The "Cover Me" exhibit, Working in the Real World on February 7, 2008 by Admin

Years ago I worked at a little dot com startup in Boston. There were 7 of us. My extension was 107, being the last one in the door at that time. When I called people from my office phone it would read out on their phones as, “x107 Mo”. We were all in the habit of reading who was calling and thus answering the phone with, “Hi Madonna”, or the name of whoever it was calling. But the engineers often changed mine to read things like, “x107 Mop n’ Glo”, so my boss would often answer the phone by saying, “Mop n’ Glo?” and I just thought he had an odd sense of humor. Till someone clued me in after a round of drinks.

Umbrella Locks in TokyoI had interviewed for this job as a one month contract position. The ad in the paper said to either send or email a resume to the address listed. I had a website which was basically a narcissistic site about me. It had design work I had done along with loads of pictures like, “Here’s me and my friend Gwendolyn in Las Vegas”, and, “Here we are at Mister Donut in Tokyo!”

(There were Mister Donuts’ on every block in Tokyo and they were always mobbed. Clubs had umbrella racks outside with locks. Like locks at ski lodges. These things, and the bathrooms, are among the things that stick out in my mind from that trip.)
Maybe this blog is not so different from that first circa 1995 website.

hairetc.jpgAnyway-I emailed my resume and a link to my site. I got the job because out of a hundred or so applicants, I was the only one who applied via email and with a link, and in spite of an incredibly bad hair day.

I had a really silly hair stylist at the time who had given me a modified bouffant. These were the days when that particular hairstyle had made a thankfully brief yet hilarious comeback. When I left my apartment in Southie I looked fabulous, according to my neighbors. It took some serious work to get that bouffant just right. I walked to the interview which meant walking down the length of A Street, which runs along Fort Point Channel. As I walked I wondered how I’d forgotten what an amazing wind tunnel A street was but because I love wind I didn’t think beyond that. I love wind.

Riding the elevator to the interview I happened to glance at my reflection in the button panel and I suddenly realized that my bouffant was no longer modified, it was aloft. But just then the door opened and I was faced with people so I had to endure the interview as is. I was sure they just thought I was sunburned and had walked in the wind.

Days later, after a round of drinks, it would come out that after (and during, actually) my interview the whole office had a huge laugh at my hair but decided to hire me anyway. That could be why they looked surprised when I showed up for my first day (via the subway) with a normalized semi-bouffant. I am tenacious and couldn’t quite let the bouffant go entirely as the trend was not yet totally over. Maybe it filled the foppish void left in my life when perms went out of style. This was years ago. I have embraced many silly things.

After a week or so they offered me a full time position so I stayed. I stayed 5 years actually, through 2 buyouts and a relocation, memorable business trips, an elevator dj, and up until I accidentally moved here nearly 6 years ago.

Anyway-it only took a few days to notice that we didn’t have water. A few times a day the entire office (all 6 of us, the boss didn’t come), would take the elevator down to the street and go to the little store nearby and buy bottles of water. It added up, although the frequent walks were pretty fun. We’d also buy swedish fish and toy soldiers with parachutes to throw off our roof deck. So I said, “We should just get water service”, and immediately the task was assigned to me, with much commenting on getting the boss to spring for water. So I approached the boss (let’s call him Ajax) and suggested water service and he said no.

So I made charts and graphs with quadratic formulas and diagrams clearly illustrating all the time we’d actually save not going out for water and did productivity analyses with crayons I found lying around, and presented them to Ajax. Still no. In every meeting I brought up the water issue and how dehydration leads to fatigue and cited more reports and studies about how people can die of thirst. I’d call Ajax and he’d answer the phone with, “Sheriff Mo?”, or whatever new things the engineers had made my phone read out that day, and further my campaign.

I calculated cost analyses (from fliers for Poland Springs and other water companies that I had found on the sidewalk) and wore Ajax down till he finally agreed to the 30$ monthly fee. As he conceded he said, “Do you always get what you want, Mo?”, to which I replied with exaggerated incredulity, “Ajax, it’s water.”

And now we had a watercooler to hang out at.

All Sides of All Things

Posted in Activism?, Exhibits, The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 6, 2008 by Admin

Once many years ago when I was more young, and by far more foolish, I remember reading an article in the newspaper about a train conductor (are they still really called that? Am I dating myself?) who was suing for emotional distress a protester whose legs had been severed by the train he was driving. I didn’t yet know what emotional distress or post traumatic stress disorder felt like. I didn’t know much. In reading the newspaper at all I was reading over my head.

So immediately I made a derisive comment aloud to my father about the gall of the conductor for suing the now legless man. My father checked my naive arrogance and checked me good. He explained to me that had I read the entire article I would know that the protester was well aware that the train could not possibly stop in time yet he decided anyway to make his point by laying himself across the tracks, knowing he’d lose his legs. He somehow did not or could not take into consideration the effect it would have on the conductor. He was not protesting the conductor. I forget what he was actually protesting.

But the conductor had to live the rest of his life with the horror of what he had seen and relive the terror of watching his train rapidly approaching the man lying across the tracks without the ability to stop it. So I switched the object of my reproach to the protester; snorting with derision from my other nostril perhaps, to which my father begged me to consider that if people did not protest things then how would they be heard and how would change be effected and pointed out all the good that has been accomplished by past protests. So I asked what good would suing the now legless protester do? I forget the exact reply but it had something to do with also being heard and sending a message about the how and why of protesting and the effects of such protests on all involved including the innocent. I remember feeling duly shamed, and I learned the importance of gathering all of the facts before rushing to judgment, seeing all sides of things at all times and also of not being afraid to speak up.

I don’t even know if my father knew all the details but he took no sides, no stance on the article, but rather he defended all sides and taught me to acknowledge that without all the facts, a rush to judgment is imprudent, unfounded and potentially embarrassing.


Posted in The "Cover Me" exhibit on February 6, 2008 by Admin

The Gallery will send them along by week’s end. Then I’ll post them from my new office, The Artisan Cafe. Internet has been broken at my studio for 3 days now.

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