Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I AM an LWA....

Last Spring I got my letter-writing honey and I memberships to the Chicago-based Letter Writer's Alliance. The enrollment papers, need I say, were quite remarkable. I, nay, we now join the ranks proudly as card-carrying members of the LWA.

In their fair city, since 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson host wonderful events, contribute to their respective blogs, and manage the alluring if not niche gift shop available on their site and space. An afternoon to evening in a public space filled with typewriters, envelopes, letterhead, and postage is an event I would love to recreate - so open, so playful. Be sure to check out their free download-able goodies HERE.
Letter writing has always been a part of my life, and my life has been so rich due to these tangible interactions. Lately my correspondence is just that, letter-form, but I do still flex the postal art aspects, too, though mostly with postcards. But, hey, though you will likely not get a return letter, write a couple of letters a year at least. Reach out and let that person/place/thing you're thinking of share something with you, though he/she/it/they are in a different time and place.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Time for the Brick Factory

A week ago today I went to my first show at The Brick Factory in Cummins Station, a new arts venue and membership-workshop. Before I mention the show, I want to let you know a little more about the venue, a new art darling in Nashville. The Brick Factory is self-described as "a facility with creative, innovative, and technological resources for members of the community: It is for those who wish to teach, and those who seek to learn," with memberships ranging from roughly 50 to 100 dollars per month, each with their respective perks. The classes listings boast a wide palette offering Woodworking, Fine Arts, Design, Photography, Dance, and "Other," the latter currently populated by a Valentine's-Day-geared DIY printmaking workshop ($20) and a wine crate making workshop. This "Other" is really what makes this place unique currently, and also potentially explosive. The openendedness is for the Community (paying members, teachers, and curators) to propose and execute classes and workshops itself. Congruous with this confidence and free approach is the option available to curate a show at the space for a nominal fee of $75. They are leaving it all right out there for one to get involved. The also very attractive Co-Work space rental, also a $75 fee but for an entire month, grants you access to their beautiful, if small-ish shotgun studio on a shared basis with other artists, etc., boasting free wi-fi, free coffee, mailing services and business address, rounded off by access to bookable conference rooms. An f-ing one-stop-shop, and resonably priced. The Brick Factory was founded by Ryan Schemmel, Joshua Cooper, and Daniel Heering. Its current Art Director is the charming Zach Duensing, matched with Jonathan Kingsbury as the Photography Director. [I just got word that the Woodworking Shop materials have just been moved across the hall from the current space, so they are dealing with more square-footage and two separate studios... Now is really the time to get in on the great prices for membership as you watch the amenities available to you skyrocket!]
But, about the show - CJ Boyd came to town again and played. The bill was rounded off by performances by Ben Marcantel playing his 8-bit Sugar Skulls beats (also a member of Hands Off Cuba) and a Kyle Hamlett solo performance (founder of Lylas and member of Styches) - two of my absolute favorite local acts.

SugarSkullz live at The Brick Factory, 2.7.12

The Sugar Skulls set came on the heels of two recent previous performances both late January. January 29th, he performed at The Richland Ballroom (4208 Murphy Road), a recent and spectacular house-venue of No Kings record label founder, artist, and musician Stephen Molyneux. Read Tony Youngblood's recap of the awesome events transpired HERE on his Theatre Intangible blog. It was an evening well put together and chock full of remarkably great music and film projections. It is not often I am given the opportunity to take the creative commons of Nashville for granted, and this evening hushed any question in my mind as to whether or not we live in a talent fucking epicenter!!! So much to expound upon at this point, I must reeeeel myself in.
Fortune had it though, that I would be seeing Ben Marcantel's seriously hooky beats wear the yoke of 8 off 8th the following night. A bigger venue, bigger speakers, I just had to see what his mod-ed out twin Gameboys would do. It was gripping, especially with the 200% increase in low end. Head back, singing with abandon a full, throaty note over waves of 8-bit crunch and swerve and well... "lazerblaps"... awesome. Sugar Skulls Bandcamp HERE.
Kyle Hamlett's set was absolutely lovely as well. His music is his soft voice with banjo or guitar. He is a superbly deft picker and a proficient songwriter. Wow, I just used picker and songwriter to describe someone I really revere.... But it's all true! These talents are used in a subversive way to create his own concoction of eerie, Southern, timeless songs. Kyle Hamlett's solo and band projects consistently generate glowing buzz and admiration from local press. He is kind of a cult fav'.

Upcoming shows of note:

Saturday Febuary 18th:
Blues Mother featuring the great Steve Poultin (founder of Altered Statesman) on bass at the Exit-Inn, $5
Square People movie premiere + performance at NoaNoa (also awesome house venue HERE), FREE
1946 Band country time-machine brilliance!!! at Station Inn, 9pm $15 [worth it]

Sunday February 19th:
Peggy Snow (member of Cherry Blossoms), Kelli Shay Hix (co-founder of Styches and member of Lylas), with Samuel Steelman at Richland Ballroom, FREE [but be prepared to buy some No Kings cassettes] -- Do Not Miss This Show

Friday February 24th:
Frosty (Derek Schartung and Ryan Teetzen) play Springwater, prolly $5-$8. Bill includes Slow Bull and The Pilgrim

Saturday February 25th:
King Karl play Springwater. [Let it be noted that the local artist Emily Clayton will be providing projected visual during this performance. You really should come and see it!!!]

Wednesday February 29th:
CMKT4 host another curcuit-bending and contact mic workshop with performance. The Brick Factory 7pm to Midnight

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jesse Sugarmann is BOLD

Jesse Sugarmann’s works adeptly cover many cultural concepts and functions; as to say, where a viewer’s association with the initial visual affect (environmental in “Clean Aire I” and emotional in “One of These Nights”), Sugarmann’s work surpasses what could be taken as the initial impressions of these works. I say surpasses, but subsumes is more apt a description because his works are all about more. They’re constituent of elements whose sum is far greater than any cultural allusion summed up by an environmental slogan or forlorn love song, more akin to the substance which allows some to persist. The apparent joy and abandon of his effort against (and consequently for) elemental forces of nature, comments on artistic practice and use of materials are all in full conversation in his work. His work is a great reminder for art, artists, and viewers today to do what you love, do it big, and inject all and/or as much of that as you can with as much clear meaning as you can. All of that seems to come off easily within his works… somehow.
Dad Effigy, 2011, © Jesse Sugarmann.

The scale of his work is serious and humorous at the same time, and his way of communicating through his art is impressive. The immense amount of imagination that goes in to an installation like his, and also his video work, is as contagious as his materials are familiar. There’s no inside joke, no exclusivity. It is like sharing with a friend something about yourself you’re figuring out as you speak. I hope that you follow any link to his site and treat yourself to one of the most original young artists today.
Real Good Time Together, 2009, © Jesse Sugarmann

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brooklyn Art Library
call number: 038.13-9

That's right!

theme: Secret codes

project: The Sketchbook Project: 2011 This book of secret codes is the collected effort of writers, musicians, and artists living and working in middle Tennessee. The collection is intended not only as a visual piece, but as an experiment to see what, if any, larger pattern would emerge from these individual efforts. For more information on the works in this book or their creators, contact: kellishay@gmail.com.

Post-tour, the book was returned to the Brooklyn Art Library and digitized. All of your favorite Nashville artists' contributions can be seen HERE, in the order in which it all happened!

Thanks, Kelli for the follow-up.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New ep by Good Rester out today!

New ep by Good Rester out today!

released 04 August 2011
Andy Alexander - Moog synthesizer, acoustic guitar
Clare Burson - vocals
Brian Siskind - beats, Sequential Circuits Six-Track synth, lap steel, processing, edits

Produced by Fognode and Good Rester
Recorded in Queens, NYC
All songs copyright 2011

Cover photo/art by Andy Alexander

Friday, June 24, 2011


photo borrowed from the AWESOME: manystuff.org

IF-NOT-NOW.TV is an online television channel that will broadcast live from the Royal College of Art MA Communication Art & Design Graduation Show. This new and ephemeral way of experiencing the show will last for ten days, 24 hours a day, from 23rd June to 3rd July 2011.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Not Bad For A Human: The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen

by Joseph Maddrey and Lance Henriksen
cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz

It is with great elation that I inform you all that the biography of Lance Henriksen is now available to purchase worldwide!!!
The limited edition of 5,000 copies published by Steve Niles and Alex Lodermeier at Bloody Pulp Books in Los Angeles has been a great success, and we hope for more of that for the copy that Alcamy Henriksen and I have published on our new imprint: Alexander Henriksen Press - a brand new independent press in Nashville, TN.
This book, in addition to being a great life story, features work by some of the world's best comic artists working right now: Eric Powell (creator of The Goon who lives in Lebanon, TN!), Bill Sienkiewicz (who’s line art is featured on the cover), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher), Ashley Wood (Spawn and Metal Gear Solid), Kelley Jones (Batman), and Tom Mandrake (Firestorm). We could not be happier about it! It has been a monumental effort shouldered by the guys of Bloody Pulp and our beloved author, Joseph Maddrey -- monumentally appreciated.
The process of working with Alcamy, Lance and Joseph on this book has been absorbing and enriching. I have the upmost respect for everyone involved, and feel that we did a job as qualifiably good as the Dream Team that put it together.
Joseph Maddrey has been working on this book for just over a year, and this end result is such a wonderful read. Here are some excerpts of some reader reviews:

   Having read several celebrity autobiographies in the past which were more glitz and glamour than substances, I was really hoping that we truly were going to get a better understanding of the man behind the movies and television shows. I can say with 100 percent certainty, that this is the best autobiography I have ever read. I don't take that statement lightly. We sometimes get some details of a celebrities life before they became famous, some give us bits and pieces of the good and bad, but in this book, Lance let's it all out for us to read and witness a man's progression from child to manhood. --TL Foreman

   I can tell that Mr. Maddrey has a great enthusiasm and geniune respect for the work. Neither Mr. Henriksen or Mr. Maddrey ever succumb to what I'm sure must be a great temptation to sly or snarky about the films that Mr. Henriksen refers to as "alimony films" and that says a lot about the character of both parties. What your mother told you is really true "If you can't say something nice, don't anything at all". It's refreshing to read an autobiography that steers clear of any vitriol or venom. -- jane considine

   This is more than a book about movies, this is a book about life, a journey of a boy under extreme conditions and his development into a man, it just so happens he became an accomplished actor, writer, potter, and father. There is so much more here than just the films of a legendary actor, there is a deep context about life and an amazing outlook from a man that should have never made it out alive, but that perseverance and drive is evident in everything he does including this book. -- J. Morris "The Sleepy Filmmaker"

   Not Bad For A Human is a great book for anybody who loves the creative mind. I'm not certain you'd have to be a dedicated fan of Lance Henriksen's work to appreciate it because it leans toward the philosophical. It reminded me a little of Patti Smith's Just Kids in that respect and poets and photographers aren't the only audience for Just Kids. Not Bad For A Human is a book that actors should read but any human can appreciate. -- FLAtRich

I have read the book many times at this point, and I am still so surprised at how accessible and evocative it is. I am also surprised that it didn't turn out to be a seven hundred page tome; especially such that Lance has been in over 150 films (don't worry, there's an extensive filmography in the back...) alongside some of the greatest actors and directors of the century, taught himself to read as an adult, is a master ceramic artist who has studied with the world's greatest (notably Tom Coleman), father of two incredible young women, and one of the busiest, hardest working, and most upright people I have known.

   Here is an excerpt of the book discussing his breakthrough film, Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon:
I remember [Al Pacino] searching me, and I suddenly had an overwhelming fear that I was going to crush his head. I thought: I could just grab him by the neck and choke him out. That feeling went through me like a flush. I looked at him and I thought: If I make eye contact with this guy, I’m going to do him in. I was so caught up in the tension of the moment…. Sidney came up to me after we shot that and he said, “I don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it.” And I thought: Oh my god he saw it! He saw what was going through my mind. At that moment, I fell in love with film. Because it was so intimate.

   And the Method actor discussing his famous role as Bishop in Aliens:
The risk was that, up until this film, I had been playing it safe. I was just doing what the script asked for. I was serving the script, as opposed to creating a character and taking chances with a character…. and really doing the kind of work that I was trained to do back in New York. This was a moment where I said, “I’m going to keep my secrets and I’m going to do all the personal work I can do to create this character. And if that doesn’t work, I’m getting out of this business.” I had to give myself permission to take that step, because this isn’t just about acting – this is development as a human being. I’m not the handsomest guy; I’m not the brightest guy; I’m just a guy who’s getting an amazing chance – so I better really go for it this time.

You can get a sense of the incredible amount of integrity at play within these pages....

So, support the new Alexander Henriksen Press and treat yourself to one of the best biographies published this year by purchasing HERE or HERE.
Also see Joseph Maddrey's other two published works HERE and HERE.

There is so much more information on the website for the book HERE. Enjoy!!!