Archive for March, 2011


Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 by Cristina

Spring break is not long enough to be satisfying and the unspringiness of Portland makes it that much harder to start a new school term. One thing that made the clouds and clouds of paperwork seem bearable today was sipping coffee while staring at this thing:

The Autzen art gallery at PSU occasionally has great stuff and this is the best I’ve seen in the last year and a half. A month ago, I did a double take as artist Eric Franklin fused all the glass bits to create this sublime Basalt installation, reminiscent of hexagonal rock formations that grace the Pacific Northwest:

There’s something instantly soothing about the trifecta of nature, repetitive geometry and glass. This guy’s phenomenal work reminded me of a similarly amazing exhibit I saw over 2 years ago. If you’re around the PSU campus and aren’t ready for school this week, come feast your eyes on this for a while.


House warming

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 by Cristina

This little-big guy is the best housewarming present I’ve ever received:

What Maxx lacks in number of eyes (he lost one as a baby), he more than makes up for in number of toes… totaling about two dozen, like Hemingway’s cats. Originally from Brooklyn, this fat 7-toed slothcat has survived an apartment fire, a several story fall and most recently, dog attempts at his life. It was those dog encounters that made his owners move him to my tranquil apartment where lasers and vacuums are the main threats. To repay this generous gift, I made a little housewarming portrait for Maxx’s parents who have recently moved to New Orleans with their guard dog. On this first try at pet photography, I took the two most regal-looking things in my house, a red velvet pillow and my Virgin of Guadalupe cloak (what, you don’t have one?), and coaxed that regal cat to stay put. The portrait came out much more veteran-y than I’d intended:

Now, the image is warming a Louisiana home in this still life composition: original wolf-dog drawing by former owner at age 9, gun & ammo, Beware of Dog sign, war veteran. A 24-gun salute to our little survivor!

Cream was the theme

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2011 by Cristina

Of the Creole scene. First trip to New Orleans was not what I’d expected, but in a good way. I didn’t know the sun was so glorious and that my skin would turn from cream to crème brûlée. Nor did I expect the architecture to be so gorgeous. The French quarter was bursting with color, but even the simpler houses like this one looked heavenly in cream and shadows:

I thought the food would be good, but not that good. Between our jambalaya chef Drew Extraordinaire and the restaurant he graces, I think I ate about 3 pounds of deliciousness. Carpaccio with crème fraiche and bread as thin as my skin:

In the backyard garden of a wine bar, my friend says, “Wow, I think all the hipsters in this place just creamed their pants because Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is here.” I wasn’t sure what ‘creaming your pants’ meant but I may have done it and that may or may not make me a hipster. I thanked Will for his superb show last summer and he surprised me with niceness and smiles. Never guessed I’d see that man’s wonderful teeth so close up.
I almost forgot, probably the weirdest sight was this cat drinking a shot of creamer at the bar. The fuzzy photo only adds to the mystique:

I won’t lie, the city’s not perfect with its occasional stench and overabundant drinking. But I swear this brown to cream dye job was an unplanned yet sober decision:

A bit too much for my taste, but hey, New Orleans! The good news is that I have now added this creamtastic city to the very short list of places in which I would and could live.

Travel intervention

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2011 by Cristina

This girl lacks the gene for air travel competence. For the nth time, I’ve fucked up a flight and sit here in Salt Lake City hating myself for it, more so than before because I thought I’d grown out of this. I mistakenly disembarked the flight that would have taken me to my destination!!! No amount of paging (I was grading exams with such gusto that I heard nothing) or calling (phone silent) could undo my idiocy. Now I’m on my way to parents’ house in Phoenix where my mom is beside herself with glee about this surprise overnight visit and has begun cooking the ham hock and prepping the swimming pool. Things seem ok but I’m deeply disappointed in myself and this feeling begs me to do destructive things like tequila shots. Here’s the motivation…

– 3/18/2011: Although I’ve traveled to both cities, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas occupy the same space in my brain, despite the snowiness of one and vapidity of the other.
–me to agent lady: “I bet this doesn’t happen to many people, huh?”
–agent lady: “No hon, not to people who speak English.”  english. right.

– 12/22/2009: TV-deprived me gets engrossed in CNN special about the 20yr anniversary of the Romanian revolution; I miss flight while sitting [brace yourself for this one] AT THE GODDAMN GATE.
–“Erin, your friend is the stupidest smart person I’ve ever met” says hairdoll’s dad while driving us home (I shrink in the backseat). This happened in Phoenix and I didn’t have the balls to call my own parents and admit I’d done it AGAIN.

– 6/26/2009: Michael Jackson dies and our homage is an NYC dance binge till 4am the night before a Barcelona flight.
–drinking hangover coffee on the steps, roomie asks 3 hrs before takeoff, “Shouldn’t you head out soon?” me: “Oh, yeah, haven’t even packed yet!” Nightmarish domino effect costs us thousands over the next 2 weeks.

These, plus other terrible airport location, military time, wrong name mixups have wasted a lot of money and heartache (only two tears though). Tequila shots would only cost more and probably draw more tears. I need an intervention.

Sans senses

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2011 by Cristina

I normally pay money to hear music, see art, taste deliciousness, touch cashmere or smell perfume but yesterday I paid to have all these things go away for a while. I made an appointment at Float On, a sensory deprivation tank place in SE Portland. It was very hard, but I obeyed the rules of no coffee, no shaving, no food before floating. Since I’d decided to not do any prior research, I was a bit nervous about claustrophobia, drowning or insanity but luckily, I don’t think any of those things happened. A ginger man named Graham explained the whole procedure with a perma-smile and showed me the huge stack of salt bags that goes into each 10-inch deep tank. His crinkly eyes and the holes in his woolen sweater made me feel totally comfortable getting naked and shutting out the world in something that looks like a scary futuristic contraption:! Although I tried not to, I think I dozed off or something and when I came to, I had no clue how much time had elapsed… it felt like 10 hours of über rest. I could hear my eyes blink, my heart beat (my stomach growl). When I wanted to touch my stomach, I was surprised by the weight of my arm and the sharpness of the crystallized salt. It was a really interesting experience and now that I know what to expect, I wanna try it again and be even MORE relaxed (also, not go into a supermarket immediately after). Nonetheless, my post-deprivation research is a reminder that moderation is key since this experience also comes in the skull and Guantanamo-Bay-torture varieties.
That said, it’s definitely worth paying $40 for 90 minutes of voluntary simplicity.

Soul-filling soulful stuff

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2011 by Cristina

Never has a dance show left me with a sadness-knot in the back of my throat, sore smile-cheeks and pins-n-needles palms from clapping. Last night, an amazing dance company I enjoyed  in NY came to grace Portland. It was part of the White Bird Dance series that brought an equally riveting performance last year that will forever be burned into my brain. Yesterday’s show was much less abstract and more organic as Alvin Ailey and his troupe of the most beautiful bodies created two and a half hours visually and culturally stimulating performance. My lovely date, the music, the spins & tremors and the stories were a nice ending to an emotionally-overcharged day. I can’t believe this man made dance magic that’s still moving 50 years later. If you can catch tonight’s show or any other during the rest of the North American tour, do do do.

Color vs. lameness

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 by Cristina

Nick Cave (the performance artist, not of the Bad Seeds fame) asked us to meet  him at the center of the earth on Friday night. The magma hotness was apparently at a fun Remix party at the Seattle Art Museum, so we accepted and found there the most beautiful, stiletto and fashion-tight wearing yuppies of the Pacific Northwest.

The full-body suits that this man (plus a team of assistants) makes are a way fun departure from a lot of stuff coming out of the contemporary art kitchen. They’re full of color, motion, sound, trash, sequins, pretty much a mash-up of everything serious and not. Looking like the product of a passionate love affair between surfboards and various department store sections (bags, formal wear, fine china), most of these suits don’t seem wearable without toppling over.

Not only do people put them on, but they also dance in them! It was this performance that we actually drove up to see, but alas, some sort of museum communication meltdown let us down. Even more surprising than the pieces was Cave’s description of how he got into the soundsuit business in the first place: an experimental twig outfit he made while thinking about the Rodney King riots of the early 90s. The idea is that these oversized and noisy creations give the wearer a certain strength and presence, at least emotionally. I agree. There’s no way in hell those cops would have beaten Rodney up if he’d been decked out in a festive 8-foot sequin or neon-fur suit. Yet another example of art combating lameness in the world.