Category Archives: New York City

The Laundromat had a gallery opening the other night. And I just couldn’t resist buying a particular piece. It is Blackout by Liz Atzberger. If you remember, we have a piece by her already. It’s using black paint and magnets and it’s a beautiful small piece. I like how the edges are washed in a rusty red and green haze, and add to the light and depth of the black. Liz mentioned that it would make a good companion piece to the other work we have. I didn’t really think of that, but I have to agree. The variation in mediums makes me want to position them in a way where they will oppose each other, black and white… I’m still throwing around some ideas in my head. I’m still trying to figure out where to put it. Kevin hopefully will walk over and install it for us. I’m used to associating her with plastic cable ties (which I dealt with way too much when I worked for the NYS Dept. of Ed.) and bright neon colors, so it’s funny that we have pieces that are primarily white and black.
I was telling Ryan that I was a little against getting a second piece, once I found out it was her, because I didn’t want to have a “thing.” I am fundamentally a little allergic to the idea of having a “thing.” The only thing more ridiculous is to make “not having a thing,” a thing in of itself, so I ignored that and went with my gut.

The show itself was along similar lines as the The burger show they did last year. Basically the showing artists create concepts that people will consume. There were some really great burger ideas last year. There was some talk about doing a hot dog show, but they settled on drinks. I think practically that that is the better idea. However, I was a little excited a for the idea of hot dogs. This, I think was a winning idea. They had an extensive menu of tasty treats and cute names.
Ben Godward’s drink seamlessly melded with his sculpture, which consists of buckets and globules of paint creating something of a neon phallic mountain-scape. His corona bottles were mini little sculptures that one of the prop stylists that attended the show bought for a famous day time talk show host/cook. (And coincidentally Ben was so sweet and gave us a bottle to have, which we are a little hesitant to open. We have something this semi-famous person has. HAH.)
We also had a Creamaster, which was a white russian, inspired by the video artist Matthew Barney by Artist Bob Scheib. (Who, by the way, enthusiastically made us the drinks and didn’t charge us exclaiming, “Art should be free!”) Another notable whiskey and soda green drink with a plastic shark was “The impossibility of a hangover in the mind of someone getting drunk…” Liz created a drink with coffee grinds, anise and vodka, which was pretty frightening, but went down pretty easily. Finally, I had the bacon salt rimmed pickle martini with a pickled brussel sprout, because it has everything I love. And it was surprisingly creamy and pretty damn awesome. Late in the party, I was running around shouting, “LICK THE RIM” pretty enthusiastically. That’s what happens to me when you mix bacon, martini, pickles, and brussel sprouts with me.

Finally, there was this beautiful delicate piece by Maiko Susu Shioda. I’m annoyed that my iphone couldn’t capture the details of the dress, which was made out of a certain type of packing tissue. It was delicate with dress like creases, a peter pan collar, and beautiful intricate details done in collage form.
Amy and Kevin purchased this piece (which was inquired about by other patrons, as well…), but they showed me an alternate piece that she did, pencil and paper of a bird, that was delicate, intricate with its wings splayed. Her lines are amazingly skillful with its texture and fineness. I was tempted to buy the piece, but it felt too impulsive. I might brood on it.

Brooklyn is a very distinct place. I remember the fragmented image I had of the place right before I moved in. In High School, it was either residential, scary, or bare. I ventured into the borough only 3 or so times. By the time I went to Graduate school, it was a hip hip place that all the people in my program moved into (that and it’s low rents). I think that was the time that I really explored Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Prospect Park, and not yet gentrified Flatbush area…

I remember bringing my mother over to see my apartment, walking from the train station through warehouse neighborhoods. She called it a “Slum,” and I just said that she didn’t understand. I live in a residential street with tons of local families and new transplants living together. For the most part, for the three years I’ve been here, there have been couple of incidents that made me feel shitty (like local kids throwing things), but for the most part the good out-weigh the bad.

Although I have been told that Bushwick has immense hipster clout, for the most part, I think the outside media imagines most of it. Most people here are down to earth, living here because the rent is right. We’re just riding the coat tails of some of the transplants from Williamsburg, who are probably just too cool for words, but spends most their time hiking it up to Bedford. In fact, East Williamsburg feels more like a young artist’s commune than party central. For example, there is this article I read a few weeks back in the Style section of the NY Times about Bushwick Collectives that is really great. It dissects the food, art, and living communities that exist in this hub between Montrose and Dekalb.

I personally really connected with this neighborhood after discovering and patron-ing a lot of the great watering holes that exist now. Before that, I felt a little like I was stuck.

There has been several articles in the New York Times romanticizing or condemning Bushwick. There was an article a few months ago about commune living here, where poor artists live in bed bug ridden warehouses with no doors or no privacy for super cheap rent. I think it fascinates a larger part of the Times audience that lives in Manhattan. Yes, I know of many occurrences where this happens. However, a lot of people in Bushwick are 30s-near 30s, living social responsible, non-communal lives.

Of course, for responsible family living, Prospect Park area/Park Slope is known for the mommy carriage invasion. Bushwick, seems to attract, perhaps because of the living spaces, singles and youths. Park Slope, on the other hand, seems to have sprawling beautiful brownstones and new complexes being built (which is also happening in Bushwick, though) that seems more condusive to family life.

Bushwick/East Williamsburg really grew on me. The kicker are the great bars and restaurants (because that’s really where my priorities are at) that are popping up all over the place. Bodega Bar, the Narrows Bar, and Momo Sushi Shack just to name a few recent notables. I mean, it’s to the point that we are scheduling bar crawls in my neighborhood, starting with Wreck Room, Narrows, and then Tandem, eventually ending up at Bodega Bar. Seriously.

Anyway, the article does a good job of summarizing the collective mindset that exists in a lot of the businesses in the area, which I think is amazing.

Roberta’s, for example, the locavore pizzeria near the Morgan Avenue L stop, acts as a kind of community headquarters for area residents and local business owners. In a backyard tent, the managers of the Wreck Room bar and the Deth Killers of Bushwick, a fashion company, can be found doing inventory on their laptops…

In addition to food advocates, Bushwick is loaded with artists. Many have formed collectives to combat the isolation of the studio, the disappearance of state arts funding and what they see as the commercialism of the art world. Rather than petition fruitlessly for Chelsea gallery representation, these groups exhibit their work wherever they can — bedrooms, stairwells, street corners.

Although the article features the Times darling, Roberta’s, I think they should have done some more research in the new places opening up and creating communities. There is the Loom Space, which I first discovered during Bushwick Open Studios. It is a large beautiful space filled with odd stores (Better Than Jam – great dress shop, Knitting Stores, Hair Salons, Bike Shops, Furniture Stores, and a Shabbat) and a HUGE rent-able bar with a sprawling beautiful back door space. It’s like a re-conceived notion of a mini-mall. Really, like a Brooklyn interpretation of a small business owned mini-mall, within a beautiful art gallery. You shouldn’t let the stark outside fool you. Come in doors and prepare to be a little impressed. When there is a party going on inside, definitely peek in. It’s pretty happening.

Another group that I feel should have been mentioned is Laundromat Gallery. I’ve spoken about The Laundromat before, which is a community apartment loft converted as a gallery, run by Kevin and Amy. It features local artists and as well as visiting artists, such as their many featured international artists. They have a lot of ties to the artist community in Bushwick and got a lot of press for their Burger show.

Finally, another group the Times should have included is the burgeoning theater group, Hybrid Theater Works, which did a huge collaboration with Brooklyn performance artist at the end of August. Although I think their headquarters is downtown Manhattan, Tracy who runs it is a recent Brooklyn-ite that runs these great shows on Bushwick rooftops.

A real community is continuing to develop here that’s pretty exciting and I hope to be celebrating it here, on this blog.

I had a dentist’s appointment on Monday morning. I figured that if I went early, that there would be less of a wait. I had to reschedule this appointment (since my crown wasn’t ready) and I was anxious to just get it done. I kind of dislike to take time off work for these “personal errands.” I would much rather spend a lazy day home on my day off. Either way, I was ready to get in there and out in minimal time.

The whole visit was a waste, because as soon as I sat in the chair, they opened up the package and took out my crown… And folks, it was gold. GOLD. Shiny. Very shiny and gold. Seriously? And the doctor was speechless, but the nurse had the gall to ask me, “This isn’t what you wanted, right? Well, do you like it? Do you want this in your mouth?” And really, it’s a molar, but it is my front molar that is quite visible. I want a shiny smile, but not by those standards. I might have done it if I had matching grills or if I was going to go meet Flavor Flav. I mean, c’mon!

So, they had me get out of the dentist’s chair and ushered me into accounting to wrap up my billing / insurance, and booked me for another day. Again. Monday morning… 2 weeks from that date. So I can take another morning off of work. I rolled in and I think my story made up for a lot, but it still didn’t make up for the fact that I wasted my morning. It was lost between a bad commute to the dentist’s office, getting my crown NOT put in, and then going back downtown into work. Uhg.

I was sitting in Bryant Park the other day. It was a nice day and originally I wanted to lay across the lawn. Unfortunately, the lawn was closed and I sat in close proximity to a couple that started chanting. They kept repeating this over and over and then concluded with a cuddle. The guy was clearly leading the show and the woman going alone with it… prompting high-fives and “YAYs!” while throwing their hands up after every chant.

What was the chant? It went like this, “USA! USA! If you don’t like us, GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY. GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY. We’ll kick your ass! We’ll kick your ass! YAY!” over and over again.

The interesting thing is that these two weren’t Caucasian. They looked Asian, Mexican, and Hispanic. Also, at first you thought they were friends just hanging out, but later on, they started to cuddle. These were two crazy freakin’ people who were into each other. That kind of warmed my heart. These people were crazy in a way that the other didn’t mind.

I told Ryan, later when he joined me, “I want to go talk to these people or start the chant with them. What do you think they will do?” He replied, “Uh… maybe kick your assk?” The thing is the sentiment in the chant is not particularly anti-immigrant or anything. They just kept saying, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE US, GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY!” Like dude, maybe I am Asian and I don’t seem American, but maybe I still dig your country? Let’s be friends! Ok, so they did scare and disturb me, but you know, fascinated me at the same time. It’s all kind of romantic.

So, where I work, Christmas comes early… like now. Things are all a flutter for Christmas festivities and although I don’t deal with it, my coworkers do. They left me a little something on my desk! You can imagine the headaches here.

Timelines are a little screwed up here, which might be why I keep forgetting what day it is. And last month, I completely forgot about my father’s birthday. (Don’t worry I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings who is living… except maybe my mother) It’s not a big deal, but personally that’s disturbing, although I would guess… normal. I mean, I would almost forget my birthday and keep forgetting to do anything for it. Whatevs.

Universal holidays are a little easy, because I can just jump on a bandwagon. And despite not doing anything special, I still want to do something special and love Christmas. Couple of years ago, I was invited for a Hanukkah dinner, and I got up on that bandwagon too. It’s multicultural up in here. Myself, I don’t know what it is, but for birthdays and all… I feel like I’m imposing my plans. Either way, on the date of my birthday I’ve been invited to a goodbye party. Hah. That same friend and I were talking last year about having a barbeque up on the roof and needing a reason to celebrate… oh wait, my birthday. I guess good bye party is as good a reason as any. (She’s going to Japan for like half a year or something)

In other news, April is winding down and the warmer weather is getting a little more frequent, and light is creeping all the way up until 7:30pm. Also, I finished my taxes a few days in advance, all in an annoying Sunday, you want to read all about it. In other news, I am beginning to think that diet coke is an acceptable way of ingesting your caffeine. If you know me, you will know how weird that is.

I’m averaging at one entry per month. I thought I should shake things up with a second entry.

Currently, I’ve run out of things to read. The last thing I enjoyed was Jay Rubin’s Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words. I thought I would dislike it, because I’m generally not very interested in other people’s readings of my favorite fiction authors. However, I enjoyed Jay Rubin’s book, because it was more than his interpretations. It had a lot of biographical data about Murakami that really enriched my ideas of his works.

Before that, I finished the Deptford Trilogies by Davies and Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein, both works of which I absolutely LOVED, and Miranda July’s Nobody Belongs Here More Than You, which I thought was indulgent, and at times, interesting, drivel. Eh. I was curious about and picked up Eat Pray Love and consequently kind of regretted it. However, it might be morbid curiosity that keeps me going back for more.

Otherwise, I’ve been eating great and watching tons of Law and Order: SVU. Law and Order, it’s my new thing. I don’t know why I am all of a sudden so fascinated by it. At the end of the day, it’s what I want to watch; experiencing this morbid schaudenfraude.

I HATE that during the week, I get home, cook or buy dinner, and then watch 2-3 episodes of instant watch netflix and go to bed. However, I’ve had lovely weekends of lazy mornings cooking hash, eating on my roof top in the sun, and drinking lots of bubbly drinks. I guess it works out. I’ve become one of those drones that go on automatic pilot during the week to try to bask in the weekend…

I’ve been going to the gym twice to three times a week. That’s it. I’ve been slowing things down and enjoying the sun. I’ve been really enjoying walking around again. I finally bought some bras for the first time in 2 years. Did you need to know that? No, but it’s just such weird and awful knowledge that lets you in on how much I’ve let go of certain things…

Life life life…

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Time is a funny thing. Once your work life becomes repetitive and busy, it’s easy to just let the autopilot drive you through month to month. I will admit, I’ve been doing that as of late… if that makes sense. I find it easy to just close my eyes and wait for the next month, which in retrospect, might not be the best way to spend your time. Am I going to wake up and find that I’m 40 with no recollection of the past 10 or so years?

In terms of my job, I’ve moved on to a new company, which is always frightening, exciting, and sad. I think it was just a mood I was in, but I really missed my old coworkers for the first part of the week. I still do, but I really need to get over that.

The first few weeks are really just the worst. You don’t remember anyone’s names, you feel awkward, and you feel mostly restricted to your desk. It’s hard, you know? Coming from a place where I had a lot of free reign and lots of fun coworkers to goof around with, it’s been a little lonely. Still, the past week has been pretty busy. Not that things didn’t get busy at my last gig, but as of late, there has been a lot of down time. And jumping into the fray at the busiest time of year is … awkward.

A question I’ve asked myself for the past month was … “when do you know when enough is enough?” And my current answer is that you don’t, but you need to weigh it out with other circumstances and opportunities. You might not be at the end of your rope, yet, but you can’t let another opportunity pass you by.

I left my job without really saying a proper goodbye to everyone, since the last 2 days were effected by the snowpacolypse. I didn’t go in Thursday and Friday, no one was in. It was in a way… easier that way. No awkward goodbyes, because I was dreading that. I would have liked to get drinks with couple of people, though, but that might happen this week. When I came to my last job, couple of people were leaving and there was a great to do about them. Now, it’s changed, which is a shame. (Not that I really wanted anything for myself. There were others leaving before I left, and there was nothing really planned for them.)

Work culture fascinates me. In the last 10 years, I’ve seen a number of environments and I have to say, the most dysfunctional places forges the strongest bonds.

I developed an annoying cough the weekend before I started my new job. REALLY ANNOYING. I managed this WHOLE time to avoid getting sick. And now… to add to the annoyances of being in an unfamiliar place, everyone probably thinks I am carrying the plague, too.

My mood has been easy to foul… lately.

In other news, two of my coworkers have fashion blogs, or something. One of them asked me and the other ladies in my room to post for a Korean fashion blog. Apparently my coworker and I both raised our brows and said… “For what? To show what NOT to wear?” I think I was wearing a thick, semi sparkly gray turtle neck from express and thick gray slacks from Banana Republic. He told me to wear my purple scarf, cause “It looks cool,” he says. That an my blue patent pumps… OMG. I just checked the site and there I am buried among other photos of random New Yorkers. I won’t link there, because it’s quite unflattering.

Overall I really like the people I work with. The people training me are very thorough and very supportive. I feel lucky. Overall I have never been in a circumstance where my direct supervisor sucked. If there was any discontent, it was usually at a higher level…

I’m waiting for spring.