Archive for December, 2007

patronizzle-age fo shizzle-age

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Something I’ve touched upon occasionally here on Wofflings is how artists often work on projects without remuneration or much respect, and also how flimsy an American conception of patronage is. I’m not whining about this at all: there are some pretty obvious reasons things are this way, and some pretty simple things you can do to ameliorate this a bit. As 2008 comes at us, here are a couple of things you could consider doing in your new year’s resolutions to have a healthier, more personalized relationship to culture and creativity:

So let’s focus on patronage. You don’t have to be rich to support the arts. Patronage, at least the way Wofford likes to look at it, can be personalized support in a host of different ways. Plus you get to think of yourself as a patron. And no, I don’t mean a big bottle of your favorite tequila.

Having a generous attitude can serve many purposes: being more inquisitive instead of suspicious of creative ventures will get you right on track to being a better supporter of contemporary arts forms. I do understand why many folks find experimental art/music/theatre off-putting, but I would ask that if you’re one of the people that feels this way, try a different approach, perhaps. Take a little personal responsibility for trusting the sincerity of an artist’s intentions, and putting more curiosity into establishing your understanding of the art piece. You still may not like the work at hand, but at least you’ve approached it with respect, instead of contempt. This process is about curiosity, not necessarily literal clarity. Ask questions. It gets you a lot closer to embracing something inherently ambiguous and experimental, and closer to the rewards that thinking creatively can bring you. Consider Brian Greene’s string theory piece in the New York Times from last year:

“…But that’s both the wonder and the angst of a life in science. Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.”

I had this undergrad in my Introduction to Visual Thinking class at Berkeley last year who was an astrophysics major. She was far and away one of the most successful students in the class, because she was so willing to experiment, and accept strange, unfamiliar things as plausible options. She didn’t get hung up on traditional or aesthetic valuations. She stayed open and curious.

Spare Change/Spare Stuff:
If you do have a couple of bucks (and I do mean a couple), support artists and arts organizations in modest ways. And Paypal makes everything so easy, don’t you think? $10. $20. You don’t have to buy a box at the Opera. Small donations are great. For example, Fellow Travelers Performance Group is in need of matching funds for a grant they received, and Christine Wong Yap really could use your support on her Illuminate Project. The Shamans of Siquijor films need finishing funds. Or you might just ask that artist/dancer/film-maker friend of yours if they accept small cash donations for a project they’ve mentioned. Just because. Look around for ways you can help on a modest scale. Physical donations of materials can be really helpful, too: Joe McKay might still need your old, dead cellphone. Or if someone’s having a fundraising event or an opening, maybe you can pass on those extra wine bottles you’ve got kicking around so that the booze can be served or sold for donations. Ask first, though: sometimes donations of physical stuff like art supplies need to be very specific. Don’t foist 2 boxes of yarn off on someone working in new media. The East Bay Depot For Creative Re-use, however, might appreciate it.

Your Time:
Time is always hugely helpful, too. Some wonderful people have volunteered to help me with the installation for my upcoming show, for example, and I know that it will make all the difference in the world in making the show successful. Artists and arts organizations, most to all of whom are operating as non-profits, are always grateful for the offers/donations of volunteers, in a wide variety of capacities. Even if you’re not comfortable being hands-on with an installation, there are almost always other jobs, ranging from administrative support to IT to slinging drinks at their fundraiser, that any organization would love to have a hand with. And just show up at stuff! Art openings are free, and your enthusiasm for attending means alot! If you make a good connection with an arts org like this, and want to make a bigger commitment to them, see if they need board members or other kinds of regularized support, too.

Talk to others about cool exhibitions/performances/street art/whatever that you experience. Share your enthusiasm with others. You don’t have to be a dork about it. Just bring it up, ask others if they’ve seen anything good lately. If you’re a blogger, write about it. I just had a conversation this morning with a friend of mine who’s an amazing artist, but is somewhat frustrated because no one is writing about her work yet, for example. Artists almost always need press. Even blogs! I attended these strategic planning meetings with the Alameda County Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership a few years back, and the three most important words I took away from their sessions were “Creating Public Value”. It’s so simple, and it’s basically just good marketing strategy: think of yourself as an influencer marketer who’s working for the good guys, instead of some crap-ass corporation. You’re reminding folks why the arts matter, and how you participate in the arts yourself.

Okay. That’s it for now. I’ve got to get back to working on my show (speaking of how I participate in the arts myself). More shenanigans and upbeat diatribes later.

Open Up The Box!

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

There are still a few hours left in Boxing Day, Pacific Standard Time, so this is as good a time as it gets to post some box-related bizness…

You may recall that I posted a little bit in October about Kim Yasuda’s amazing Container Project at UC Santa Barbara. If you then followed the link to her Flickr page about it, then you saw some of the innovative work being done, transforming shipping containers into usable living/working spaces.


Ready to try building your own? Know someone else who might be interested in giving it a shot, as well? There’s a competition with your name on it, right here…

Expressions of Interest due February 1, 2008
Full Proposals due February 28, 2008

Engaging affordability and sustainability as themes for this inaugural competition, participants are asked to use two 20-foot shipping containers as the raw material to create attractive, functional and eco-friendly designs as possible solutions to the affordable housing question. The sponsors seek a building that will be mobile, functional and beautiful. Successful designs need to prove both cost and energy efficient as well as conform to current local zoning and building codes. This competition offers the winning proposal a chance to see the project realized in three dimensions in a key location on the UC Santa Barbara campus.

The competition winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and two 20-foot shipping containers to be used toward the implementation of their design. The winning design should be producible for approximately $10,000, although teams may opt to produce a slightly more expensive version based on available match funding. The total cap for production costs for this competition is set at $20,000. Second and third place winners will receive $500 and $250 cash prizes respectively. Honorable mention award winners may also be named. If an agreement cannot be reached with the top-ranked designer, the sponsors may elect to negotiate with the next highest ranked contestant, but they are under no obligation to do so.

This is an international competition open to anyone with great design ideas. Enter alone or in a group. Collaborative and multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged (i.e. a designer and an artist, a graphic designer and a student, a builder and a homemaker). Project teams are srongly encouraged to include students as part of the team composition.

University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), J Staal Storage Solutions, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center UC Santa Barbara, Office of Sustainability UC Santa Barbara, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Design and Facilities UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Architectural Foundation

Can be found on The Container Project website at

nice backside

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Try re-reading this one, substituting the choicest terms (“nice backside”, “butt”, “cellulite”, “thighs”, “J Lo” etc) for words that are more self-entertaining!

casting opp of the week:

Casting Notice
Project Name: Beautiful Female Walking
Project Type: Internet
Rate/Compensation: TBD
Role Role Type Gender/Age/Ethnicities Description/Note
BEAUTIFUL FEMALE WALKER Lead Female / 18 to 30 / All Ethnicities Must be a fit female with a nice backside. No overly skinny or overweight figures please. Focus is on natural and healthy body types. The main priority is having a shapely butt; can be firm or soft, but no strong cellulite showing. Next is shapely thighs, also with no visible cellulite. Think about J Lo and other female dancers or athletes who have strong, curvy and feminine figures.NOTE: To be considered, you MUST include a note indicating your measurements and any other info you’d like to

Maybe I’m the only person who finds these funny.
Wouldn’t be the first time.

And just how can you how one have a back and a side at the same time/place?
Is this some Cubist, multiple-perspective crap?

the showex at soex

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

So some of you know that I’ve got a January solo project coming up in the back gallery at Southern Exposure‘s new digs. I am only just now going into full-fledged production mode, of course, but I’m getting pretty excited about it. I don’t want to ruin the fun by revealing too much about it here, but here’s an illustration I made this week that’s guiding the direction of the project:


As with the illustration I did for Monster Drawing Rally earlier this year, this drawing was hand-pencilled and brush-inked onto 11″x14″ bristol paper, then scanned and colored in Photoshop. Real painting is fun, but fake digital-painting has its moments, too. Less brush clean-up and gunk under the fingernails, that’s for sure.

I tend to make a bunch of sketches and drawings in my thinking-it-out process: this is an integral part of my art practice, whether this work gets seen or not. Since this upcoming show is primarily an installation with wall treatments and some simple sculptural objects, I’m not necessarily sure that I’ll even exhibit this drawing, or any of the other paperdoodles I’ve done! However, since SoEx’s lovely Maysoun Wazwaz requested something from me for publicity for the show, I figured that this image would be more useful for such purposes than some of my other messy scrawls, or pics of a pile of unready lumber, awaiting transformation.

The exhibition opens on January 11, and I am in seeerious need of friends, family and other amiable volunteers to help with the install. This is the first comprehensive solo installation I’ve done in a couple of years, and there is much painting of walls and some mild hammering and sanding to be done. If you have time/interest in helping out, and you don’t suck royally at painting, I would be very appreciative.

The primary window for helper-outers will be Jan 2-Jan 9, with (fingers crossed) minor touching-up only on the 10th. And then big fun party on the 11th! Let me know if you want to lend a hand. I can’t pay you, but I can feed you, and entertain you, and promise not to stick things in your ear. Add a comment to the blog, or email me directly if you’re into it!


Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Frankenart Mart is most certainly my absolute favorite artist-run space that I’ve never been to. I mean, how could it not be? It’s not just hotdog-centric, it’s community-centric and participatory-centric and alternative-economy-centric…it has all of the indicators of greatness in a gallery that I require! (Except perhaps some sort of waffle-friendly sub-agenda.)


Yes, it’s true I have wiener-sympathetic inclinations which might leave me unable to be objective about such matters, but really, what else is there to do but surrender to pleasure when you receive an email blast like the one below? (And objectivity’s over-rated, anyway. To paraphrase Howard Zinn, you can’t be neutral on a moving train, especially when hot dogs are being served.)

The kind message they sent (please note their invitation to get involved):

Open this Weekend!
Frankenart will be open this weekend for all your holiday shopping and art making needs.

Call for the Currency Show
The Theme: Art, music, video, writing, etc”¦ about money, exchange, and the circulation of goods and/or value.
Drop-off dates at the beginning of the show: Jan 19 and 20, noon to 7pm
Duration of show/ Arterrarium dates available: Jan 23 to Apr 13


For this show, we will be hosting our own postal service in which artist-courriers interact with and deliver mail in the city of San Francisco (farther destinations may be negotiated). Customers will purchase artist-made postage, and then drop their letter or package in the frankenmailbox. Artist-courriers whose stamps are chosen will pick up the mail, interact with the exterior and/or contents in a respectful and generous way, and then deliver it to the desired destination.

Participating artist-courriers are needed. All you have to do is create an art stamp(s) and swear an oath to perform your postal duties. Artists receive 50/50 cost of postage.

PLEASE NOTE – the frank
All artwork, including stamps, will be exchanged with frankenart currency – the frank. The frank’s exchange rate is based on the daily price of a regular gallon of gas at the Arco on 1175 Fell St & Divisadero St. 1 frank = $3.25 (as of December 15, 2007). All artwork will be priced accordingly. An exchange booth will be located in the store for custumer convenience and to answer questions.

We love fruit cake!
Happy Holidays,

leslie, reuben and zeke
frankenart mart

They have hot dog currency. Pegged to the price of gas.

Hot dog CURRENCY!!!!

The only thing I can even half-heartedly question in this fine message is their spelling of “courrier.”
I’m suspicious of the extra R, but even the spelling-stickler in me has been disarmed by everything else.

If you feel like wandering over to the frankenart mart website, or perhaps even frankenart mart itself, heeere’s a screencap to teleport you there:


When you click through, please take a minute to bask in the subtle joys of a banner logo done up in shades of Mystery Meat and Enriched Bun. And a navigation bar that lists art and hot dogs and manifesto as non-mutually-exclusive categories.

It’s times like this when I love America once more.

515 balboa street
san francisco, ca 94118
wed-fri 6-9 pm
sat 1-8 pm/ sun 1-6 pm

luggages and stages

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

OK, clear your dance cards, people. Fun stuff this weekend:

Friday, Dec 14:

The venerable Luggage Store Gallery is almost old enough to drink! Come celebrate twenty years of their awesome-ness at the massive opening reception for the group show In The Fullness Of Time: Celebrating 20 Years. Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. are sharing our AABNAB vision of wedded bliss once more, but don’t come because of us. Come because the Luggage Store is effin’ awesome, there is an amazing group of artists who’ve shown there over the years in this exhibition, and it’s likely to be a total dog and pony show, as far as openings go.



Saturday, Dec 15:

Manilatown Center at the once-again glorious I-Hotel is hosting the book launch party for Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino American Performing Artists, edited by the mighty professor, musician, and Prince fanatic Dr. Theo Gonzalves!

I’m thrilled to bits about this event because
A: it’s about damn time someone put together a new book on Filipinos’ enormous capacity for effective hammy-ness,
B: Theo now lives in Hawaii so I never get to see him much,
C: I’ve been excited to visit the Manilatown Center but haven’t had a chance yet, and
D: getting to go to the rebuilt I-Hotel is like getting to see a legend come back from the dead!
(Way better than a Led Zep reunion concert, and infinitely cheaper, too.)


So you folks know where I’ll be.
Hope to see you at one or both events!

Reception for In The Fullness Of Time: Celebrating Twenty Years
Dec 14, 5-10 pm
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street (at 6th), SF

Book Launch for Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino-American Performing Artists
Dec 15, 3-5 pm
Manilatown Center at I-Hotel
868 Kearny Street (near Jackson), SF

hot tub wine party

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I’m on some sort of listserv for casting opportunities in the Bay Area. I’ve certainly never been cast in anything, and I should have unsubscribed by now, but it’s still entertaining to get them, and also to see just how little people are willing to pay for.

Many of the calls are for student projects, so of course there’s no budget which is understandable. But a number of the “paid”, more “professional” gigs just seem like the dregs of the dregs. But they’re funneeee! Hence, a new series of occasional postings on the best opps that come my way.

best opp of the week:

Casting Notice
Project Name: Variety Show Promo
Project Type: Promo
Rate/Compensation: $100
Role Role Type Gender/Age/Ethnicities Description/Note
Hot Tub Wine Party Other Female / 21 to 35 / All Ethnicities Need 2-3 Models to soak in hot-tub (tastefully topless) while being served wine.

pneumatic holiday hijinks

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Maybe I’m just trying to get the December festivities over and done with early, but doing things ahead of time isn’t exactly my MO. I’m not sure just what this earlybirdlyness is about, but I’m enjoying it…

Had back-to-back little get-togethers this past weekend: a long-delayed session of Drawing Night with a few of the usual suspects, and then a small Galleon Trade reunion with a few of our Bay Area cult members.

Drawing Night, after a long hiatus, is back on: our December session was a little heavy on the balloon animals, but it’s not like we have strict drawing night by-laws we are required to adhere to.

On top of a number of the usual suspects in attendance, Gerone dropped by to draw, which just added to the fun. We all made atrocious Christmas card drawings and collaborative googly-eye collage drawings, but I haven’t photographed those yet. For now, it’s all about the balloons.

photo: MRGIII

There were drawings of balloon animals, there were drawings on balloon animals, there were balloon animals that looked nothing like balloon animals at all…The nice thing about balloon animals is that they don’t actually need to resemble anything. Virtually everyone is content with whatever dubious abstraction they create.


hall and ricci: balloon game-face

The ballooning carried on to the Galleon Trade Pasko, as well, where we all agreed that ‘Balloon Animals 101′ should be a required assignment for every beginning sculpture student, as a great, inexpensive way to deal with volume/space/form, as well as impermanence and obsolescence. We’re so art school that way.

jaime c strikes a pose

Lastly, what Galleon Trade event would be complete without a gratuitous photo of Christine and her magnificent Green Tea ice cream halo-halo? Served up with a bow tie and a smile!



I’m still suspicious of the implications of an innocent, delightful Filipino treat being topped by an originally Japanese dessert. Served in an American home. Is this like some deceptively sweet WWII metaphor? An edible analogy for globalization’s exploitations in the Pacific Rim? What? What?
It seems I’ll need to eat it a few more times to figure this out.
Yum to that.

art, activism, hot dogs

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

As threatened, we did hit a number of holiday-esque events in the east bay on Friday night. The Creative Growth sale was jam-packed, and very fun, as has been the case for the many years I’ve attended. As gallery prices for Creative Growth art keep ratcheting up, I’m delighted that the artists are making more money, but dismayed that I can afford less and less of the wonderful work from there. My neighbor Gerone Spruill has been a Creative Growth artist for years there: in the past year, his work hs been reviewed in Artforum, and next year, he’s having a show at White Columns, in New York! He’s priced out! (And while Gerone is always pleased with attention, he’s pretty much utterly indifferent to critical accolades and career advancement. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from this, although I hesitate to romanticize it too much.)

The December show is when Creative Growth traditionally makes other works available for a lot less, so I did make off with a couple of absolutely insane steals from the bargain bins for a grand total of $8: a lovely, colorful drawing on paper, and this really fantastic, murky Donald Mitchell drawing done on the back of a hand-held mirror.


Art should never be so cheap, unless it’s a gift. So I’m going to have to look at this as a gift.

From Creative Growth, it was on to Pro Arts, for the Taller Tupac Amaru exhibition: damn, there were some amazing prints in that exhibition. And free tamales! Shows like this reaffirm my faith in artists making a political difference, gratis tamales or no: while a few of the works swung a little bit more towards propaganda than I can absorb, overall the messages were powerful, iconic and right on. Folks were taking a stand, instead of just goosing around. Time to find a little more wall space for one of these, once the paychecks finally start rolling in again this spring. It’s an interesting time for art and activism right now. A lot more discussions and exhibitions are already beginning again, and more are going to start coming forth soon…


After all the amazing-ness at Pro Arts and Creative Growth, as well as a look-see at the awesome little show at Swarm Gallery, I wasn’t entirely sure how much better the evening could get.

Little did I know.

Within seconds of arriving at blankspace, it became clear that the culmination of this entire holiday season was quite possibly the opportunity to receive this holiday gift card:



with a photo portrait of P and I on the laps of not just some old, fat, pseudo-Santa, but a young, skinny, bespectacled porn-stached pseudo-Santa, AND a young, skinny, bespectacled porn-stached pseudo-Santa Hot Dog!

And I even got to meet Mrs Hot Dog, who was one of the photographers! Although she was not in a hot dog outfit.

I have a major thing for hot dogs. And no, Sigmund, you don’t need to read anything into that.
Hot dogs are just the best/worst kind of junk food, and they have a funny name. And I love them.
And this makes two times in one year that I’ve gotten to hang out with a person in a hot dog costume!
How awesome is my life?

Increased conversations about art and activism. Increased sightings of artists in hot dog costumes.
Maybe it’s not mere coincidence.
I’m just sayin’.

studio sale, part deux

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Yup, ye olde wofforde studio sale is ongoing:
All gallery pages of works for sale are now updated.
I’ve also added 3 last sub-pages: Kandingan, Chicksilog and The Franklin Party.
I won’t be adding any other new images besides these for awhile.
Check ‘em out