Friday, August 31, 2012

mocavores

preparing the grill for fresh-caught utah trout
tonight we went to our annual church fish fry.  this was a tradition started by someone years back that brings everyone out on a friday night at the end of august to eat fish, share pot-luck dishes, visit with neighbors, and slide on the slip n' slide.  it's the biggest church social event of the year, probably.

we eat delicious utah trout, expertly grilled, garden tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and melons, peaches and apricots from neighborhood fruit trees and an assortment of salads, salsas, pastas and desserts.

in an era where all kinds of mormons are eager to dispel myths and finally, finally show that we're just like everyone else, i want to dispel one of the myths that will hopefully show that, no

it's true,

we're not like everyone else.

here's a good article and video from nbc's rock center that lays out the mormon church welfare and food system.  i think it's a pretty amazing system, and i'm really proud to be part of it.

mormons are known for their love of jello, but really we've always been locavores and self-sufficient when it comes to food.

(we learned too late, though, that we should have eaten those crickets, not killed them.)

fishing and hunting have never gone out of style here in utah, nor has gardening, canning, or communal farms and food production.

i love that we have central farms and canneries and enough local food to sustain our community.

i really, really love utah trout (though we haven't yet been able to convince the brethren of the church, who run the fish fry, to replace the parkay margarine squeeze and lowry's seasoning salt with real butter, salt, and lemon).

i hope other communities can learn from us that no one should go hungry, and that every community should be producing their own food.  it's a really good feeling, a now peculiar practice that i hope will once again become common practice in the united states.

for the love of dolly

girl got herself out of a tight place
last week we watched tai uhlman's documentary for the love of dolly. this slight but intriguing documentary features footage five dolly super-fans doing their quirky, sad, over-the-top fan stuff, like creating porcelain dolly dolls, getting plastic surgery to look more like dolly, and planning elaborate costumes for the annual opening parade at dollywood.  one of the fans is a developmentally disabled man whose dolly obsession is his portal to the larger world. two troubled young women structure their lives around pilgrimages to dollywood and recreating dolly's "tennessee mountain home" in their back yard, and a gay couple builds a life around creating and collecting dolly memorabilia and singing along with their favorite dolly song hello god.

by virtue of it's subject, the documentary keeps your attention, but you feel a bit voyeuristic, and wonder if this was a little bit of an easy target, somewhat akin to criticisms leveled at waiting for guffman, you hope that you're laughing with, not at, the subjects of the film.

the filmmaking is somewhat artless, especially compared to the other documentary we saw last week, ai wei wei: never sorry.  but there are interesting moments when the footage delves into the fans' backstories, and the reasons for their obsessions begin to emerge:  one young woman has suffered abuse at the hands of her family, and talks about the prayer she would offer every night even as a pre-schooler:  that dolly would be her mother and sing her a lullaby every night.  the man who makes the porcelain dollys discusses the guilt he felt when his wife died in a car accident even as he was in the process of leaving her for his current partner.

as one who verges on dolly superfandom, i wish we would have gotten a little more of a sense of the things that make dolly so compelling, such a rich personality and talent.  a singer who can make you sob even while singing most inane lyrics in the world, lyrics like:

Hello God, are you out there?
Can you hear us, are you listenin' any more?
Hello God, if we're still on speakin' terms
Can you help us like before?



i enjoyed this film well enough, but didn't think it really did dolly or it's fascinating subjects full justice.  what causes a person to want to negate her own life in the worship of another, and why is the worship directed at dolly?  i wished for a fuller exploration of these questions.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Checking In from a Democratic Stronghold

Typing on a computer with a tenuous internet connection in a groovy TV-less hostel on Cape Cod, where fresh baked cookies were passed around about an hour ago, and I found some soap in the free bin in the bathroom. So far, the trip's been pretty exhausting with a whole lotta driving and many activities planned, including a trip up to northern Vermont where we hung out at the Bread and Puppet Theater's headquarters for awhile. We made a brief pilgrimage to the beach tonight--pristine and empty, bordered by dunes, and had dinner in Provincetown, which is the Castro (and/or Christopher)Street of New England, gay couples and drag queens. I can't think of a better place to be the night of Mitt Romney's speech.

where breath most breathes: a few good things

me & motherboy

today was serene.

but on the slim chain of serenity, a few gems shone out:

1.  the sky was notable--brilliant blue foregrounded with dark clouds that stretched and clustered, trying to rain, but the sky was so bright.  all day shadows came and went at surprising times.

2.  these lines, from shakespeare's sonnet 81:  "when all the breathers of this world are dead:/ you still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,/ where breath most breathes, e'en in the mouths of men."

genius!

3.  artisan shaved ice at yuki ice.  all the local food blogs have mentioned this place in the past few weeks, for good reason--fresh syrups made with locally grown produce (so, since we live in the mountains, no pineapple or coconut) such as nectarines, roasted poblanos, cucumbers, peaches, home-brewed rootbeer, etc.  i'm in love.  the flavors are clear and full, just lightly enhanced with cane sugar and a little citrus where needed.  so rare to find such naked yet powerful flavor in such a simple, unassuming format.

half nectarine, half mojito

i had nectarine (so nectariney!).

i'm trying currant and orange flesh melon next time
cecily had cucumber (so cucumberish!), and we sampled the jalapeno, poblano, and rootbeer.  cecily's favorite flavors were the jalapeno and the cucumber.


moses had fresh lime.

we sat on the grass and looked at the sky for a little after dinner outing. 

4. washed, dried folded & put away 5 loads of laundry.

5.  read two chapters from coleridge's biographia literaria.  i may have lost some of my grad student chops; working on getting them back.

6.  made it to day six of my "21 oms" mediation practice.  trying for 40 days.

7.  practiced yoga with monica.  she has the yogic spirit, and i always feel a significant sense of grounding when i come from her class.

heidi braids

8.  did cecily's hair this morning.  i've been a bad hair mom.  i vow to do better.

9.  lots and lots and lots of lipstick, to give me a little boost.

10.  dinner on the back porch.  finnish dish, but with a little dolling up:  i added fresh taragon from our neighbor's garden and some roasted baby heirloom tomatoes.  simple and good.

11. had a poem come out today in the innisfree poetry journal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer 2k12: Hello Goodbye

A dear friend (and fellow Gender and Sexuality Studies concentrator) once said to me, "If queer theory has taught us anything, it's to delight in transitional spaces." This is on my mind as I sit in the Denver airport for five hours in a transitional space between summer laziness and scholarly industriousness, between a normative nuclear family environment and a radical matriarchal kinship structure centered around library all-nighters and communal fridges, and between a wild desert valley and a flat, lush collegiate gothic swamp. Today I said goodbye to Utah, and today I will be saying hello to Pennsylvania.


Traveling between my hometown and school always puts me in the weird position of trying to figure out whether I'm leaving my home or returning to my home. Do I belong to the place where I lived for a very long time, where my family lives, and where my cultural heritage as a Mormon is centered? Or do I belong to the place where I aspired to go for many years, where I have spent most of the past several years, where I am registered to vote and where the majority of my possessions reside? This part of my life has the advantage and challenge of being heavily transient, and I guess the whole point in this exercise of being a vagabond is to learn to relinquish that kind of identity. Not to reject the idea of having a sense of place, but I guess it doesn't matter whether I'm a "true" Utahn or a "true" Mawrter, what matters is that I'm going to need to lug my possessions into a small room in a number of hours and find something to eat in a few minutes and start going to class next week and go to work tomorrow.


Another tricky issue around this time of year is how to leave. I know very well how to arrive-- I'll call everyone I know is on campus, give them a big hug and squeal about how much I missed them, it will be like we were never apart. But saying goodbye always  has a weird feeling of ceremony to it. Yesterday I was stressed out the entire day, trying to cram too many dresses into wheeled containers and worrying about seeing and saying goodbye to everyone. I woke up my little sister for a hug before I left, and I made a point to see people for the specific purpose of saying farewell, feeling pressure to say something deep or important or conclusive, promising to keep in touch and that I'l miss them. Perhaps this is the wrong approach, though? Perhaps I should have just slipped away without making a big production of it. Maybe that would have been less emotionally taxing or underscored that saying goodbye for the evening and goodbye for the semester aren't really so different. Regardless of what I say to anyone upon departing, I know I'll see them again when I've taken all my final exams, when snow is on the ground, and when I have to wear tights every day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

sabbath day candles

favorites
our friends with green thumbs and excellent taste brought us a basket of beautiful herbs and peppers from their garden.  i'm grateful for people who can grow food.  that skill has eluded me.

the 44 oz. maverick cup in the background tells you everything you need to know about our family's commitment to juxtaposition.

so make me a deal:  when we're living in a post-apocolyptic world, you grow it & i'll cook it, okay?  i'm pretty good at cooking in weird circumstances and with skimpy ingredients, almost as good as i am at killing plants.
thanks heather and kevin!
all summer i've wanted to do a candlelit italian dinner outside, and today was finally the day.  ingrid is leaving for college tuesday morning, so this was our farewell dinner: portabello mushroom lasagna, spinach salad, glace carrots, homemade vanilla ice cream, peach crisp, lemonade.



the kids love these carrots
i wanted to make this mushroom lasagne, but this recipe was too pricey (i'll get to it later, right after i cash my macarthur check), so i downgraded to ina garten's recipe, which was still pretty delish. especially with a few sprigs of fresh thyme from that gorgeous herb bouquet added to the mushrooms and the bechamel.

farewell ingrid, august
the whole family was together tonight, plus a few of our favorite friends.  it was a blazing hot day today, but right before dinner, a thunderstorm rolled in and we got a gorgeous summer storm that brought things to the perfect temperature, plus made it dark enough for candles even though we ate at 7 & it was still light out.

i love you, alice waters.
one more thing:  peach crisp and homemade ice cream.  first of all, i only ever use alice water's crisp recipe.  it's undoubtedly the best one out there, and i've been using it for years.  second of all, you definitely want an ice cream maker.  i love the simplest vanilla with a reduced amount of sugar so the flavor of the cream is the center piece.  which is what you want with really good peaches.  nothing to distract from the beauty of that brief-lived summer ecstasy.

never use any other crisp topping.  it's all about the roasted almonds.
sitting in my back yard eating peaches and looking at the mountains after a rain storm. come visit me in august, and that's what we'll do.
homemade ice cream is a whole different subject.

(rum & maldon sea salt, as this blogger suggests, is so not necessary.  fun, i suppose, but i think it would just get in the way.  also, i double the topping recipe because i'm a topping whore.)
Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp
Adapted from the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook and Chez Panisse Fruit
½ cup almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
zest of one lemon, chopped fine
1 tablespoon aged rum
For the Topping
Preheat oven to 375 F. Toast the almonds until they smell nutty and are slightly more brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Chop the almonds to a medium to fine consistency. Combine the flour, the sugars, the salt and spice in a mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter in pieces and mix with your fingers until it becomes mealy. Add the nuts and mix until the flour mixture holds together when squeezed. Put aside. (The topping can be prepared up to a week in advance and refrigerated).
For the Crisp
Mix the fruit in a medium-sized bowl and then add the sugar. Taste and adjust for sweetness. (*Note, don’t over sugar the fruit—there’s something quite beautiful about a semi-sweet crisp. Don’t be afraid to let the fruit express itself in its truest form.) Dust the flour over the mixture and stir gently. Spoon the topping into a small cooking dish is just big enough to hold the fruit. Mound a small amount in the center of the dish. Then, gently add the crisp mixture on top. Lightly push the crumble on top of the fruit mixture.
Place a cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven (to catch any overflow juices) and put the crisp dish on top. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the fruit juices are thickened and bubbling. The delicious smell of baked fruit will help you know when it’s close to being ready.
Serve with rum flavored whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Finish the ice cream with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Woody and Me


Leaving for the woods tomorrow.

I rarely leave New York, so it's freaky.

I'll try and blog if I can, but I know no one will miss me given the fact I co-blog with one of the most brilliant women on the planet.

Also, Ingrid up tomorrow!  Is this her last August guest post?  I think it is.   :-(

never sorry


ai wei wei at his recent show at the tate modern, right before being detained for 81 days by the chinese government
"i have more fear than most people, so i have to act more brave," says chinese artist and dissident ai wei wei in the new documentary ai wei wei: never sorry by allison klayman.

ai's acts of bravery, and his commitment to acting, and acting, and acting some more in the face of almost certain failure, form the core of this inspiring documentary.  his ability to turn tight places into opportunities seems to be one of his great gifts.  when his blog is shut down, he starts tweeting, sometimes for eight hours a day.  when the government orders the demolition of his studio in shanghai, he turns the demolition into a giant party.  in one of the funniest scenes in the film, one of ai's assistants and a police official who is openly documenting ai in an attempt to intimidate him, film each other at close range, pointing their cameras in each other's faces like a dare, like fingers jabbing at the beginning of a bar fight.

in one of the most moving scenes in the film, we hear names of children who died in the 2008 earthquake, names that the government tried to keep secret, read by chinese citizens who participated in ai wei wei's earth quake memorial--a different voice for each child.

klayman's filmmaking is as clear as wei wei's purpose and vision--we see this artist's work in the context of the political and social ends it reaches for, but klayman also brilliantly, almost without notice, points out the aesthetic nuances of the pieces through her editing and imagery.  the field of 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds painted by artisian porcelain makers in china and ultimately showcased in ai's tate show "the unilever series" near the end of the film,  is first introduced to us in dribs and drabs:  jars of the seeds on the kitchen counter (you might think they were real seeds) an envelope of seeds being opened and poured into a bowl, an earlier small piece of art he created covered in sunflower seeds.  you might think:  what's with all the sunflower seeds?  by the end of the film, when you see museum patrons crunching in their heels over the vast field of hand-painted seeds, when you see the various sizes and shapes of shoes traipsing over the nearly, but not quite, uniform objects, when you hear the slightly varied footsteps, depending on the size of the walker, the type of sole of the shoe being worn, etc.  you begin, just begin, to understand what the piece is about.  or, if you don't understand, you just enjoy the imagery, the scale, the accomplishment of such a vast work.  even more so because, in small glimpses, we were shown the seeds being accumulated, painted, shipped, and installed in the museum.

one comes to appreciate through these subtle glimpses, the meeting of old and new that makes ai's work so exciting:  the painstaking slowness of  artisan porcelain makers creating millions of faux sunflower seeds vs. the instantaneous event created on twitter, the power of the camera and social media vs. the power of a blow to the head by a single police officer acting on behalf of the chinese government.

the film is also just plain beautiful:  klayman intersperses tiny glimpses of wei wei's cat stretching and arching in his zen-like courtyard with the more chaotic scenes of violence, protest and horror that have taken place over the course of ai's history.  we catch, for just a moment, the grungy white camera observing wei wei's home, the dented tin mirror reflecting his comings and goings, reminiscent of the mirror catching van eyck's little self-portrat in the arnolfini wedding; klayman reminds us, mostly through these images of documentation, the recordings of recordings being made, the filmings of filming and picture taking, that the recording and documenting of events is the most central activity of wei wei's life now.  and the film includes allusions to the documenting of a documentary happening as the film is being made.  as ai wei wei is recorded, so he records, and he invites us all into this brave new world of recursivity along with him.  actually, he makes us want nothing more than to speak out and on the record, to be a little braver, to do work that is a little more significant.

ai spent twelve years in new york city, beginning in 1983, and you can see how the punk, d.i.y., no-holds-barred bad assery of early '80's new york informed & honed his skill at taking weaknesses and turning them into strengths.

like ghandi or dr. king, he knows that opening himself up to acts of injustice publicly is his best chance to create change.

ai wei wei fills the screen with his corporeality.  he has a reassuring but ebullient presence that makes you feel alternately that everything will be okay as long as some one is willing to act, to speak out, and also that you know, you know something bad is going to happen to him.  and he knows it, too.  even as he clowns and flips the bird at his oppressors.his puffy face and circumflex eyebrows are both comical and appealing, and he projects the kind of serenity only a person who has resigned himself to death in the name of truth & righteousness can emanate.

at the end of the film, ai wei wei disappears for 81 days.  when he reappears, his big, comforting belly significantly shrunken, his smile almost gone, his color dampened and greyed, and his voice temporarily silenced, a major art magazine names him the world's most powerful artist.

"but i don't feel powerful," he tells an interviewer.  "i feel fragile.  maybe my fragility makes me powerful."

yes.

we still know.  something bad will happen to him.  and it's okay.  power lies, always, in our willingness to make fragile own personal safety for the sake of another person, or for a lot of other people, and to always speak, always act, when we see oppression.

One AM

Blogging again at one am.

Not at home.

Right now, have had some troubling news.

What I found out about Thoreau:  He wasn't a jerk, but sometimes acted jerkily.  He died at 44.  He really liked people.  His mom did his laundry.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Forgot to Blog!

But then Lara reminded me.

Crazy discombobulated day, full of kid juggling and keys at work.

But good dinner:

I had the tofu bun at An Choi, a Vietnamese restaurant i'd always passed, but never patronized.

But I've been eating out way too much.  Like way.

Preparing a stack of books to take on my New England vacation including this one.   I know it's very hip to poke holes into "purism" but it's fun, too:




the price of pleasure

the queen & her beloved
what strikes me most about  benoit jacquot's farewell, my queen is the delicate play between the impending massive people's revolt and the tiny but emotionally charged detail of every day life in the court:  a beautifully embroidered dahlia, a precious clock, the rustle of brocade and hollow footfalls of a french heel against marble, cobblestone and wood.

the court is focused on attending to the indulgence of every physical and emotional whim of la reine, so focused that one sees how they could possibly not have realized what was imminently arriving at the gates of versailles.   the film catches you up so completely in the minutia of the baubles and minor intrigues of the sex lives of the courtly entourage that one sees how the queen and her attendants became confused about what the most important concerns were on july 14th, 1789:  the fact that the duchess de polignac was not as in love with the queen as the queen was with her, or the fact that both of their names appeared in the top three on the list of those who should be beheaded in the name of liberty.

on a sensory level, the movie is pure pleasure:  great music, gorgeous shadow and light, the skin of beautiful women caressed lovingly and a little creepily by the hand-held camera. as the neo-realists put their cameras at eye-level, jacquot holds his at dĂ©colletage level.  the ladies' oft heaving bosoms almost become characters in and of themselves

enjoy.

enjoy the girl on girl flirtations, the whispered french gossip, the tableaux layered against the giant poplars filmed on the grounds of versailles, the nightgowns and wigs, silk stockings and pewter dining ware.  watch the queen enjoy them.  watch the court enjoy her enjoyment of all things beautiful, sensuous, and decadent.

& maybe wonder, for just a second, if losing your head is a price worth paying for so much fun & drama.

Friday, August 24, 2012

thursday night

and i'm so relaxed after such an intense week that i'm having trouble finding one last ounce of adrenaline left over to write this post.

so great having the little kids back in school.  routines at last.  everyone's happier.

just starting haywire.  soderbergh always has the best music.

here's a rundown on the day:

1) left the house at 6.30 a.m.

2) taught class #1, wearing dress julie gave me.  i always get lots of compliments in that dress, including once in nyc from a woman on the street, which is like two compliments.

3) prepped for next week's classes.

4) read in-class essays from class # 1.  for my own personal reasons, designated writers "E" for emerging (i.e. not ready for college writing yet), "P" for proficient, and "A" for advanced.  don't know why i did that.  just got the urge.

5) taught class #2.

6) went to seminar, discussed habermas, byron, abrams, and the rise of the mass reading public.

7) commuted home.

8) printed out copies of a creative non-fiction piece i've been working on for writer's group.

9) went to walden back to school picnic in southfork.

10) brought warm peach cake to writer's group.  thanks to ingrid for making it.  it was one of the best cakes i've ever eaten.  custardy and peachy.

11) new writer's group!  more on that later.  i'm excited.

12)  watching haywire with c.  so looking forward to several hours of writing time tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Work then Play: the Final Weeks of Summer


 After work, I got kid #1 to go down to the East River Park Amphitheater where Two Boots Pizza was celebrating their 25th anniversary.  Just the usual stilt walkers, giant puppets, live bands, and free pizza (albeit pizza slivers).  Again, another beautiful late afternoon was handed to us like a gift.


Afterwards, we saw another installment of In & Around C, this time a mixed jazz ensemble, that kid #1 only let me stay at for five minutes--maybe six.

I thought I'd throw this in--Stella and I having farmer's market pizza in Union Square Park after gathering a ridiculous amount of school supplies.

Also, today at work, I ran into one of my favorite writers.  More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

films to c*

gina carano in soderbegh's haywire
my love for facebook waxes & wanes.  one thing i love, love, love about it is how you can get advice from really smart people in an instant.  two weeks ago i put out a call for mystery novel suggestions & got a fantastic list, came home from the library laden down with new treasures of mysterious indulgence.  last week, i asked people for film recommendations, as i want to spend more time watching movies for the remainder of 2012.

i plan to start with haywire, suggested by the smart and uber-talented david veloz, my former co-editor of the byu lit journal inscape, and a groundbreaking screen writer/director.   i love soderbergh, and have seen most of his films, so i'm looking forward to checking this one out as soon as netflix gets her butt in gear and sends it to me.   suggestions from veloz are numbers 31-43, and listen to him--he knows what he's about.

last weekend i saw benoit jacuot's farewell, my queen at the broadway cinema in salt lake city.  i hope to get a review up in the next week.  also hoping to catch the queen of versailles and trishna at the broadway before they leave.

so here's the list from my facebook friends for your consultation--a list as varied and eclectic as the rad people i know from real life and cyber life.  feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section of this post.  and remember the wise words of christian's wise father:  the only thing worse than a bad movie is no movie.

1.  that thing you do
2.  millions
3.  wings of desire
4.  another earth
5.  bunny lake is missing
6. labyrinth
7. mirrormask
8. grosse point blank
9.  midnight in the garden of good and evil
10.  harold and maude
11.  tristam shandy
12.  end of august at the hotel ozone
13.  the friends of eddie coyle
14.  prime cut
15.  waking ned divine
16.  kiss kiss bang bang
17.  russian ark
18.  daisies
19.  any tarkovsky
20.  buck
21.  wanderlust
22.  el mariachi-desperado-once upon a time in mexico
23.  seventh seal
24.  romy & michelle's high school reunion
25.  jiro dreams of sushi
26.  32 short films about glenn gould
27.  mamma mia
28.  billy elliot
29.  muriel's wedding
30.  gun crazy
31.  sunshine
32.  haywire
33.  sacrifice
34.  nostalghia
35.  fitzcarraldo
36.  burden of dreams
37.  the conformist
38.  the dreamers
39.  state of things
40.  margaret
41. spinal tap
42.  13 assassins
43.  heaven's gate
44.  meet joe black
45.  the secretary
46.  the star wars series
47.  black power
48.  mixtape
49.  the films of jacques tati
50.  bottle rocket
51.  city island
52.  trishna
53.  girl with a pearl earring
54.  the beaver trilogy
55.  little miss sunshine

*i was thinking of this pun on terry riley's famous piece in c before i even saw julie's post.  synchronous, again, julie!

In & Around C

The whole day was a wash except for the fact that around dinner time, I finally forced kid #2 out the door and to this experimental music performance in the neighborhood.  The floor of the small gallery (next to Sugar Sweet Sunshine), which usually displays mediocre visual art, was painted with long parallel lines, making a giant musical staff that extended up the far wall.  This is where the musicians were clustered.  Bodies on the staff randomly dictated what the musicians would play.  Do you get this?  I'm not sure I did exactly--how does this really translate to the sitar that was present tonight?  It did make for some interesting snapshots.  

And it was a beautiful late afternoon--perfect for throwing open a gallery door and inviting people to position their bodies on a large musical staff.  The music, itself, was great, actually.

Later, I was sitting outside and found myself talking to the artist, Mad Mohre, who conceived of the project.  I asked her if it had been inspired by Terry Riley's "In C" (is that the title?) and she said "Yes!" And, Lara, I was secretly so proud of myself because I literally know of only three famous experimental musicians:  Cage, Glass and Riley.

This is part of the Nouveau Classical Project.  These performances are happening Wednesday through Sunday afternoons and evenings until August 20th.  
A camera captures the position of bodies on the staff and beams it to the musicians. 
The artist, Mad Mohre

back 2 skool.5

getting dressed at the crack of dawn for back to school.
first day of school for me, moses & cecily.

next week, christian starts teaching and ingrid heads back to bryn mawr.  for the first time since pre-school, eva won't be going back to school this fall.  weird.  & good.  one kid done with college!

a couple of things about 2K12's first day back:

1) every tuesday i'll be in class for 420 minutes.  teaching for 160 of those minutes.  in poetry workshop & seminar for the rest.  i'm so grateful to have this opportunity, and so grateful for state schools that provide an education for so many students of such diverse backgrounds.  here's to even more diversity among college students in the future.

back to school duds.  big sister ambiguity.
2) moses and cecily are so adorable.  i'm grateful we live in a safe neighborhood with a great school, and that they can walk to school.  every child should have this.  i will continue to do everything in my power to make this happen some day.

3) lula made fresh peach ice cream today.  she's still waiting for her school to start next week.  the first days of walden always involve a walkabout--three days worth of backpacking in the mountains.  i'm so grateful for walden.  the teachers are amazing and dedicated and the students get so many enriching experiences.  yay progressive public education!

4) i'm really excited to be in poetry workshop again, and grateful to be able to work with a really interesting poet.  she is asking for a lot of new poems from us, which i love, and i was so excited when she talked about valuing aesthetic diversity amongst the poets of our program.  i'm totally down with that, and glad it's so fundamental for her.  also, so grateful that, against all odds, people continue to devote their lives to poetry.

back to school eve dinner.
5) our back to school dinner last night was:  roasted teriyaki salmon and mushrooms, green beans, corn, and my favorite koshihakari rice, with peaches & cream for dessert.  i'm so grateful for utah peaches and corn.

6)  i thought i was going to have to wear an old dress today, but ingrid and anna thrifted a snakeskin calvin klein sweater dress for me yesterday.  so even though i had to get up at 5.30 a.m. to get ready for school, i was grateful to have a fun dress to wear.

7) class ended early tonight, so i had time for a relaxing dinner with eva and d.j. at red iguana in salt lake.  i'm grateful for red vinyl mexican table cloths, pink doors with yellow walls, and chile verde.  & also grateful to have eva living so close to me after four years on the east coast.

late summer roses.
8) i'm grateful to aunt bonnie for taking care of my rose bushes.

9)  i returned to a clean kitchen, folded laundry, and fresh peach ice cream.  i'm grateful for ingrid, lula, and christian for keeping everything together, and more, at home in my absence.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

(It's Still) Summer Soundtrack (Thoreau's the only American here)

Nothing much to report except that I started reading Walden today in preparation for my vacation in the New England woods.

One thing though: I'm excited that The Darkness has a new record (which got a terrific review in a recent Mojo).  Summer's not over yet!

Here they are covering Radiohead, metal head style:

Also, today would have been Joe Strummer's 60th birthday. Here's one of his best song's ever. (My kid's preK teacher, taught this song to the class, accompanying them on his acoustic guitar)

And 32 years ago this summer, ACDC's post Bon Scott record Back in Black was released.  I remember kids blasting that record from vans pulled up into Mormon Church parking lots.  Just one more song before going inside to the church dance.

Thoreau's the only American on my soundtrack. What's been on your summer soundtrack, Lara?

Summer 2k12: Back to school

Because Rainy Days and Mondays always get us down around here, I (Ingrid, esteemed daughter of Lara) will be posting on Mondays this month, each week thinking of something that makes summer particularly summery. This week I'm thinking of back to school shopping.

I always say that August is like the Sunday night of the year-- once school starts you're running on adrenaline and have no time to ruminate or stress, but the entire month is spent in anticipation for the moment when the shiz hits the fan. It's a funny time period because it combines sitting idly with one's Netflix queue/floating down the Provo River in a tube/cruising around in a minivan with a Cokechata with serious stressing. All those pre-homework jitters pair poorly with summertime laziness, so I have a tendency to channel that nervous energy into the only productive activity available in August: back to school shopping.

The secret nobody tells you about thrift stores is that the best ones are in small weird towns in weird places in America. It's important to shop in places where there is not going to be an abundance of fashion-forward individuals snatching the best finds before you get there. Because of this, Utah is a fantastic place to buy secondhand clothing and I try to spend my time here browsing through musty racks seeking the elusive perfect find. The important thing about shopping in a thrift store is that you can't go with an agenda-- of course, you may have long term thrifting goals (for me, these are Doc Martens and a slip I can wear in public) but I almost never find what I am looking for and usually find something much better. If I had a thrift store crest, the bottom of it would say in Latin, "patient, thorough, open-minded". Live those qualities. Embody those qualities. Never buy something on the condition that you will one day fix or alter it, unless you have a sewing room that you regularly and recreationally occupy.

And finally, here is a brief list of some of my most exciting finds this summer:

- a 90's club dress printed with Picasso's Guernica
- a taxidermied duck for my dear friend Anna's fabulous Salt Lake apartment
- gold pumps-- there was also a silver pair from the same brand floating around, but I dared not
- a loungewear set including a nightgown and bathrobe in the same fabric of sheer navy blue with a floral print
- a navy blue skirt suit with velvet buttons and a velvet lapel, perfect for when I dream about being the mayor of Salt Lake City
- jelly sandals, which brought me right back to my childhood when a spare set of jellies was kept in the car for me in case of shoe emergencies
- a rabbit fur jacket with leather trim
- a long velvet dress with a slit up to there that makes me feel like Jessica Rabbit
- a new pair of Docs-- light brown, six or eight eyes, in the little boys' department of the Deseret Industries
- a turquoise leather miniskirt, which I traded with a friend for the black strapless Betsey Johnson dress of my dreams

Monday, August 20, 2012

the rubble of our feast

hoagies, potato salad, crudite, chocolate chip cookies

trying to get every last drop of summer.

one more day until school starts for me and the two small children.

tree climbing at huber grove.
looking at this list, i have yet to:  1) hike timp, 2) take a road trip to southern utah, 3) buy a new pioneer bonnet, and 4) serve a fancy italian backyard dinner with candles.

today we had a picnic.  i wanted to go to southfork, but christian suggested huber grove in midway, and i'm so glad we went.  we haven't been this summer, and i had forgotten how cool it is.

the creamery.  snake creek ran through the cellar, keeping the dairy cool.  it's built of pot rock, volcanic rock prevalent in midway.
huber grove is a homestead from the 1800's built by mormon swiss immigrants.  the homestead is filled with fruit trees, aspen trees, a cottage and a pot rock creamery, and snake creek runs through the property.

Add caption

best of all, the homestead is covered in little plaques with excerpts from huber's journals and poems he wrote.  and quotes like this, that casually suggest a dramatic and amazing lifetime: "when huber was in vienna, he spent evenings at the vienna opera, when he was not imprisoned for his faith."

or this:

bees!
moses and i walked the little trail near the creek, dense with horsetail, and read up on the flora and fauna of the homestead, courtesy of the wasatch state park.  moses asked me afterwards if i had enjoyed our "naturous" walk.  ingrid wrote down quotes from the plaques in her journal and read snippets of the poems in german to us.

moses' ninja pose on "naturous" walk.
lula climbed a tree.

we ate.  we showed anna from cambridge a beloved place of ours.  since my mom grew up in midway, it has a special pull for me, and for the kids, who've spent many summers and vacations there.

anna from cambridge.
every time we have a picnic, i think of c. thomas asplund's beautiful poem, seasonings.  christian's father was such an amazing poet, and he didn't have time to write nearly enough poems in his foreshortened life.


II

The smallness of it all makes one wonder;
the sitting on a smooth bank
in the river smell and sun
and ants and grass
tickling up the sleeve.
The dry kiss
and the moist kiss.
The baby reeling through the grass on reckless legs
and you
stretching, head back amid the rubble of our feast,
reaching beyond me for the tiny sun
blink

                        you are gone with the flick of an eye

                                    blink
            gone are the empty cartons of a summer day

                        blink
            gone is the shameless sun.
            Suddenly my child stands before the tiny sun
            a giant shadow before the tiny sun
            and I can see that in his reeling quest for age
                                    he has stolen my years
                                    and shatters in the prism of  my tears
                                    and with the tiny river I am young no more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Neighborhood News

Marja is one of the best-dressed New Yorkers I know.
I somehow lost my entire post, so here it is again, in a list, which seems less arduous.  I don't know why.

1.  Today at the New Amsterdam Market, I ran into my neighbor Marja Samsom, restauranteur and self-proclaimed dumpling diva, who maybe rides her bike even more than I do mine.  Famous for her Soho-based Kitchen Club, you could always spot her toting her charismatic French bulldog Chibi in the basket.  Today, she told me that Chibi had died of old age. RIP Chibi!
2.  Speaking of animals, at the market (which is near the Seaport) I saw this band of youngsters play: Caged Animals.  
3.  Before that--back in my neighborhood, I was thrilled to see some green guerillas attack the uninviting empty lot wedged between two tenements.  Apparently what they're doing isn't entirely legal, but I signed the petition in support of it.  

4.  I rode my bike down to the Seaport for the first time ever along the East River promenade.  It was glorious.  Magical.  
Everyone was invited to unearth the potential in this plywood studded lot.
5.  Lara, speaking of unearthing potential, I need to ask you some AW questions.