The Golden Warrior And The Scarlet Sage

The Golden Warrior Salad at Mixt
The Golden Warrior Salad at Mixt

My brain wanted to head over to Mission Chinese for lunch but I wanted to make a stop at The Scarlet Sage first. It’s a nice little herb and crystal shop that sells things like incense, tarot cards, and herbal medicines, on Valencia Street where I like to pick up a souvenir or two of my annual stay in The Mission every August. Sometimes a crystal, sometimes a bar of soap.

As I was walking down the street, I passed this new place – MIXT – that took over the storefront, at 901 Valencia, that used to house the infamous La Rondalla. The last time I had been in this place, I was sitting at the bar with my friend B. and a couple of the guys from Stumbleupon having beers in the middle of the afternoon. Today, I almost didn’t want to go in, but I did.

The inside is now white and sterile and clean and well lit, and everything it never was before, and my brain was still yelling Mission Chinese, which is also situated in an old funky hole in the wall.

But my tummy was asking, rather politely, for salad.

I stepped in the door and grabbed a menu, standing off to the side while I read it. It sounded yummy. Nothing excites me more these days than a bowl full of greens and veg. Looking around, I also noticed that the salads were pretty big.

My mind was fighting me, so I decided to go over to Paxton Gate to look at their rock collection while I waited to get hungry enough to eat. When I finally did, the salad won out.

Which I’m glad for. The Golden Warrior Salad was big and delicious: baby spinach, mixt greens, cabbage, avocado, coconut chips, cucumbers, chickpeas, carrots, celery, fresh herbs, mixt seeds and topped with a raw tumeric ginger vinaigrette.

I really don’t like chains, really really don’t like them, and MIXT is a chain. I don’t know how far and wide it goes, as it looks like there are a couple in LA, but there are a number of locations around San Francisco, mostly in the Financial District. Chains these days are starting to wise up and are serving fresh delicious food that people like me will actually feel good about eating. I say if you are in the neighborhood and looking for some good clean food – this might be a really good choice.

The Scarlet Sage on Valencia Street.
The Scarlet Sage on Valencia Street.

Creating An Art Studio On Wheels

Creating my new home and work space on wheels.
Creating my new home and work space on wheels.

This is taking so much longer than I thought it would. When I first got the new-to-me van, I thought it would take a week for me to build it out into a living space. I planned one day for each component of the build – one day for insulation, one day for walls, one day for the floor, one day for the bed, one day for the shelves, one day for the closet, one day for the primer, one day for the paint, and then one day to do laundry and one day to move in. OK, ten days.

That was about two months ago and I’m just now starting on building the shelves.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t had access to electricity and I’ve cut all the wood with a hand saw. Or that I have to spend time running to Home Depot every other day to get the next part of the project’s supplies.

When it’s done, it’s going to function as a dollhouse sized live work space. White walls, great floor, great light, and lots of space to store art supplies and art.

I’m so looking forward to getting out into the world and creating as I go.

It took a lot of letting go on my part to get to this point in life. Letting go of what I thought my life would be like. Letting go of the kind of art that I wanted to make and focusing on the kind of art that I could make. Letting go of the kind of work studio I wanted to create in. Letting go of my collection of possessions. Letting go and just allowing this crazy ass life to live on its own terms.

I have a lot of catching up to do. A lot of work ahead of me.

And I am so looking forward to it!

Curators Workshop During The 10th Berlin Biennale

CURATORS WORKSHOP BBX CRIT SESSIONS
Curators workshop on the occasion of the 10th Berlin Biennale
Directed by Antonia Majaca and Sohrab Mohebbi
August 31 – September 9, 2018

On the occasion of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, curator Gabi Ngcobo and her team—Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Serubiri Moses, Thiago de Paula Souza, and Yvette Mutumba—have invited Antonia Majaca and Sohrab Mohebbi to rethink and expand the format of the Curators Workshop.

After a number of successful, theme-based workshops held in relation to the 4th to 9th editions of the Berlin Biennale, this iteration, as proposed by the workshop directors, is centered on the biennial exhibition itself. It encourages an exchange with the Berlin Biennale staff, curators, contributors, and participants. This edition of the Curators Workshop takes as its primary subject matter the parameters, resources, and tools offered by the Berlin Biennale. The program examines the exhibition as a complex network of material, political, and aesthetic contingencies. It focuses on its visible and invisible alliances and relations, using the biennial as a site of encounter and study.

The ten-day gathering with a group of fifteen contributors selected from nearly 400 applications is comprised of daily Crit Sessions involving analyses and discussions about the curatorial decisions, conceptual constellations, and individual artworks, in addition to close readings of accompanying discursive and publishing programs. The program also includes in-depth conversations with the curators, artists, contributors, invited respondents and lecturers, and the audience.

CONTRIBUTING CURATORS

· Alina Belishkina, lives and works in Helsinki, FI
· Amanda Carneiro Santos, lives and works in São Paulo, BR
· Aziza Harmel, lives and works in Tunis, TN
· Behzad Nejadghanbar, lives and works in Tehran, IR
· Eva Gabriela Posas Rasgado, lives and works in Mexico City, MX
· Giscard Bouchotte, lives and works in Port-au-Prince, HT
· Gökcan Demirkazık, lives and works in Beirut, LB
· Guslagie Malanda, lives and works in Paris, FR
· Gyula Muskovics, lives and works in Budapest, HU
· José Segebre, lives and works in Frankfurt/Main, DE
· Lesia Prokopenko, lives and works in Kiev, UA
· Nelago Shilongoh, lives and works in Windhoek, NA
· Nicholas Laughlin, lives and works in Port of Spain, TT
· Renée Mboya, lives and works in Nairobi, KE
· Tshegofatso Mabaso, lives and works in Johannesburg, ZA

INVITED RESPONDENTS

The Curators Workshop acts as a close reading of the biennale format, with unique interjections from selected respondents. These guests include: Alya Sebti, Ana Teixeiro Pinto, Danai Mupotsa, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Esra Küçük, Gabi Ngcobo, Gabriele Horn, Gary Indiana, Henriette Sölter, Johanna Unzueta, Las Nietas de Nonó, Mario Pfeifer, Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Paola Bacchetta, Peggy Piesche, Rachel O’Reilly, Ruth Noack, Stefanie Peter, Thiago de Paula Souza, Thomas Girst, Tiziana Terranova, Tony Cokes, Yvette Mutumba, Zairong Xiang, and others.

PUBLIC BBX CRIT SESSIONS

Friday, August 31, 2018
5–7 pm
Denise Ferreira da Silva and Tiziana Terranova in conversation with Antonia Majaca
Akademie der Künste, Clubraum

Saturday, September 1, 2018
2–3:30 pm
Lecture by Paola Bacchetta
Akademie der Künste, Clubraum

Thursday,September 6, 2018
4–5:30 pm
Lecture by Zairong Xiang
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Studio

Saturday, September 8, 2018
4–5:30 pm
Final discussion of the Curators Workshop contributors
Akademie der Künste, Clubraum

All events are held in English and admission is free. Due to limited capacity registration is required by e-mail at cw@berlinbiennale.de by 10 am on the day of the event at the latest.

The Curators Workshop BBX Crit Sessions is organized by the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in collaboration with Allianz Cultural Foundation, BMW Group, Goethe-Institut e. V., and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).

The public program as part of the Curators Workshop is supported by The Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung).

The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art is funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) and organized by KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V.

Buying The Van

Diamond in the rough.
Diamond in the rough.

It had been twenty-one years since The Escape Pod came into my life, but now it’s time to let her go. After hurting my back a few years ago, it became more and more difficult to drive her, getting stuck in traffic with the clutch was unbearable, and working on her myself has become problematic. It took more than one difficulty, and a very long time, for me to give up The Pod.

Not being really up for the confusing process and challenge of buying a new-to-me van is putting it lightly, but when funding finally came through, the search began in earnest. There were a few pragmatic requirements on my list of things that were required in a new-er van – it needed to have an automatic transmission, roomier in the cargo area than my VW, have enough power to go up and down mountains, be fairly reliable and must be a brand that could provide easily found parts and mechanics.

Sitting for quite a long time with my eyes roving to newer models of Ford Transits and Dodge Promasters – I was visualizing myself in vans that I could stand up in. But alas, my newly found funding did not include their price range and there was no way that going into debt (ie: payments) were an option. My second choice was something in the range of a smaller, generic, affordable, cargo van, like the ones you see running around all over town as delivery or work vans.

The search began looking primarily at the Ford Econoline vans, and then the decision was made to focus on looking for an E250 so that there would be some room in the back even though I’d still be crouching, and some travel power. It was a hard decision at first. When it comes to vans, my heart belongs to VW buses. Changing brands was going to be heartbreaking.

Then I encountered my first problem.

No one would return my calls or my emails. Craigslist and CarGurus were my go-to resources and there were quite a few for sale, but most were sitting outside my public transportation commute range for going to see them. Being able to talk to a dealer about what was actually for sale on any given car lot was paramount.

It was frustrating as fuck.

At one point I made the decision to stop looking and sat down and just asked my Universe to send me the right van and the right person to buy it from. Someone who was going to give me a fair deal and treat me like a human.

A few days later that person sent me a text message.

T. made the process of looking and test driving easy, gave me no pressure whatsoever to make a purchase and answered my many questions more than one time each with patience. He even took all of the metal shelving out of the van for me and saved me the pain of doing so.

It took about two weeks and a lot of anxiety attacks to make the decision to purchase this tank of a van. But now I have it and a new life has begun.

* * * * *

I bought the van from a dealer named Toby in Fremont, California. His company name is Kool Cars.

At Home Depot

At Home Depot

Hardware stores are some of my favorite places to walk around in. All that testosterone. Especially at the big box stores like Home Depot. You can bathe in it. Because of the van build project, I’m spending a lot of time there recently.

Sometimes I look at metal pieces not for their intended function, but for their shapes, designs, their out of context ability to make me wonder what the heck?.

I like taking photographs of the hardware out of context, as a still life. Just place a piece on the floor and capture the image.

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