“I’ve never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn’t made any money with it.” — Laurie Anderson
ARTISTS AND GALLERIES OPEN HOUSE
First things first — you have to go to the GO! page today. Click the logo now.
Bloomington is humming with events and activities on this first day of June. Leading the way is this weekend’s Summer Arts Blast. Tonight, galleries around downtown will throw their doors open for the Arts Walk. Painting, photography, poetry, film, music — you name it. Just go to GO! for all the info you’ll need.
Tomorrow and Sunday we’ll have the Open Studios Tour wherein artists around town let people into their homes and studios to see how their art is made.
Which reminds me of the annual Pilsen East Artists Open House that would take place in September in my old Chicago neighborhood. East Pilsen was a designated arts community, chock-full of artists, musicians, playwrights, authors, sculptors and others who were habitually late with their rents.
Pilsen East Artists Collective, The Lampreys
The arts walk happened over a weekend and usually began at noon and ran through 8:oo or so.
One of the artists loved telling this particular story.
Many of the people who would pass through the studios and homes of the artists were young professionals with brand new families who were more concerned with checking out the neighborhood to determine if they should buy in rather than with the art on display.
Now, this type of creature was roundly loathed by the artists for several reasons. One, they were really nothing more than transplanted suburban yuppies (bet you haven’t heard that word in a million years) who would only live in the city until their children were old enough to go to school, at which time they’d flee back to places like LaGrange or Highland Park.
Ooh, We Love The (White, Safe Part Of The) City!
Second, their presence in an arts neighborhood signaled, essentially, the end of said arts neighborhood. See, in Chicago, arts neighborhoods serve as transition states between neighborhoods filled with brown people and those filled with detestable white pseudo-hipsters.
By the time the neighborhood would be washed clean of its brownness, the artists would be priced out.
Anyway, one Saturday morning the artist in question was chatting with some art walkers who’d stopped in and were sincerely curious about his work. A husband and wife came in pushing a luxury stroller that had about as many extras as a Mercedes automobile and, for all the artist knew, probably cost as much as well.
Nothing’s Too Good For Our Little Man
Since the stroller was nearly as wide as a Mercedes to boot, the husband was dashing about in the artist’s home, moving things to make a path for the stroller’s precious princely contents. The artist watched this in amazement.
Suddenly, the young messiah in the stroller announced he was thirsty and only juice would do. So, like that, the daddy-o marched over to the artist’s refrigerator and, without asking, began rummaging around for the juice his heir demanded.
Now, the refrigerator contained only the usual artists’ provisions: a half carton of out-of-date eggs, an almost-empty salsa jar, and store-brand mayonnaise. So the artist didn’t make a move to stop the man from rifling through his private space. He wanted, instead, to watch him.
Maybe Some Vintage Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Too
Eventually, the daddy-o concluded that his golden boy, who by this time was shouting for his juice, would go ungratified, at least in this particular spot.
So the father closed the refrigerator door and turned to the artist. “Don’t you have any juice here?’ he demanded.
“No,” came the reply
“No?” Pops asked, incredulous.
The couple and their squalling kid left the premises forthwith.
The artist and his other guests merely laughed.
So, here’s a tip. Stay out of the artists’ refrigerators this weekend.
Otherwise, enjoy the open houses.
THE CREAM OF THE VINTAGE FASHION SHOPS
While you’re traipsing around downtown digging the art, make sure to stop in at Brynda Forgas’s Hidden Closet in its new location directly behind the Book Corner.
The Hidden Closet
Brynda’s throwing a big opening party for the place staring at 5:00pm. The entrance is on the Kirkwood side. Trust me, it’ll be worth your while; she’ll will be serving cream puffs.
WELL, IF YOU REALLY MUST BE A WRITER….
As if there isn’t enough to do this weekend, get ready for the IU Writers Conference starting Sunday.
Featured scribblers include Lynda Barry (arguably one of the coolest people ever to draw a breath), Dan Chaon, Jean Thompson, Erin Belieu, Lou Berney, Jenny Browne, and James Canary (apparently, he has no website).
Lynda Barry’s Self-Portrait
The shebang runs through Friday, the 8th. One highlight will be a featured reading Monday night by Dr. Susan Gubar, whose book “Memoir of Bebulked Woman” recounts her struggle with blade-happy surgeons who carved her up in an effort to rid her body of ovarian cancer.
Each day from Monday through Friday is packed with classes for writers and those aspiring to the maddening vocation.
As of this AM, all classes and workshops were still open for registration so get on it, baby.
Here’s a tip from a writer who’s been clacking the keyboards professionally since 1983: unless you’ve got an insatiable jones akin to heroin addiction to put your thoughts, imaginings, and/or fever dreams on paper (or LCD screen) get out while the getting’s good.
Writers, by and large, are whacked-out, half-drunk, personally unendurable, and usually broke. And those are the successful ones.
If, on the other hand, you can’t stop yourself from stringing words together, then by all means sign up for some IUWC sessions.
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?