Monday, October 31

Writer Phillip Lopate: More trick than treat

Happy Halloween! My internet is still down at home and won't be up until Friday, which means I can't upload photos from home, where all my photos are. (And I'm too much of a hermit and too absorbed in some other writing to go out in public to search for a signal. (Note the name of this blog.))

In lieu of a new post, here's a reblog from last Halloween, when I hung out with the writer Phillip Lopate at his home in Carroll Gardens. (Several posts are here.) Hit him up tonight if you're going door-to-door. He's the neighborhood trickster.

Monday, October 24

My internet is down

So until it's back up at home, and I can upload photos from my computer there, here's a peony from last summer in Vermont. It's one of the only photos on my phone right now. I'll be back soon! Happy Monday.

Thursday, October 20

The film office

Continuing a walk around the apartment of filmmaker Jonas Mekas, above, I peeked behind a swooping red curtain and entered his office. On the desk is a stack of film tins labeled things like "Yoko" and "Dali" and "W.T.C." A portrait of his family hangs on the brick wall; he's the little guy in the front row on the right. Boxes and files and books are piled on endless shelves, and a pale-green monster of a vintage film machine (is this a projector?) sits at the entrance to the room. There's a mattress on the floor, a convenient crash pad.

Monday, October 17

Scribbling with my camera

Last week, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, above, at his dining table in Brooklyn, told me he scribbles with his camera, taking notes on the scene. I loved this idea, since I feel like I do the same for Homebodies, shrugging off some kind offers from pros who'd like to take "better" pictures for me. But that's never been my point, and everyone has something to sell, don't they?

When I went over for dinner, an impromptu offer that day, I walked into the spacious apartment--books, film reels, tables with work stations, and a smattering of fluorescent orange--and found a crew of people scattered around: a woman at a computer, a German film student in a Batman T-shirt drinking wine at the table, Sebastian, Jonas's son, preparing to cook in the kitchen. "It's like a factory," said Jonas, who was close to Andy Warhol as a friend and creative collaborator. 

Another guy came in. Then another. When I asked them both how they knew Jonas and Sebastian, they shrugged and said, "Lithuanian." Jonas is from Lithuania. 

Sebastian cooked us all delicious pasta. The student, who's studying film theory in Vienna, explained his thesis, about the philosophy of Walter Benjamin he sees in Jonas's films. "Does Jonas see Walter Benjamin in his films?" I asked the student. "I don't know yet!" he said. "We'll see! I got here yesterday." We talked about work, and jobs, and freedom, and creativity, and scribbling, and--yes, thanks, more wine--and photography, and the history of Lithuania, and Palestine.

Before I knew that Jonas had made Sleepless Nights, a film about his lively evenings due to insomnia, I took a few photos around the apartment, excusing myself at the early-bird hour of 10:30 pm. 

Below: a binder of "Pieces + scribbles;" a view of the apartment when you walk in; a cat; a cow that his daughter saved from slaughter, lucky cow; Sebastian holding a kitty, one of two in the place that loves to snuggle in boxes.

Friday, October 14

"STRAY cassettes" and Jonas Mekas

The photo I posted the other day of the night's wreckage was at the Brooklyn home of filmmaker Jonas Mekas, whose blog I've been following since I interviewed him for WNYC. (Arts critic Carolina Miranda and I live-tweeted all eight glorious hours of Andy Warhol's 1964 film Empire; Jonas was the cameraman.) When our interview ended, I felt like I was only at the beginning of my questions with the avant-garde artist, who's also the president and cofounder of Anthology Film Archives in the East Village.

So here we are, months later, 7:30 pm on a Tuesday, impromptu dinner. I'm one of several guests in blue chairs. I'll post more next week, but for those of you in London, you can see Jonas's new film at the BFI London Film Festival, going on now. The film, Sleepless Nights, is about the eating, drinking, singing and dancing that fill his insomniac nights. (How tame. I left that night at 10:30 pm.) Tickets are still available, and Jonas is in attendance.

Below, the kitchen, a cold beer, and my walk to the building.... More next week!

Thursday, October 13

Details. Hands, fingers.

Well. I talked to Kevin Ink this morning, whose former apartment in LA I've been writing about this week, and I am shocked to report--and relieved with the news--that Kevin is healing miraculously after a very serious car accident he suffered more than a year ago that nearly destroyed his right hand. Actually, the accident did destroy his hand; doctors put it back together so beautifully that Kevin says he feels like now he's someone else's work of art: full use of fingers, movement, feeling. He's getting there. He's recuperating with family in New York, and he just emailed me a gorgeous photo of a mobile he's making that requires fine handiwork and miniscule ties--a Murano glass fly is suspended from the work with a human hair.

By the way, you can see Kevin's work in Ellen DeGeneres's house in this month's Architectural Digest. I think it's one of his mobiles, and I don't think there's a pic of it online. Page 146. 

I had collected these images for a post that would show how detailed his work is. I remember one of his mobiles was held together with string, and I'd never seen so many perfectly uniform knots. Some of his mobiles feature straight pins that secure botanical pods. I always loved these, the combination of metal and found objects from nature. Kevin says when he woke up and saw his hand in a contraption with all those pins, "It was like something I would've made!" Needless to say, he's in great spirits, which, he says, is the only way to be.

Appreciate your hands today, and your life, OK? Some mobiles and sculptures and things, mostly around the bedroom...  

Wednesday, October 12

Hand-knit, copper-mesh lighting

Back to Kevin Ink's place... How beautiful are these hand-knit copper-mesh light pendants? In the earlier post, you can see that this cluster of filament bulbs hangs above a chair where he sits and knits these wire pods. Spools of copper and filament bulbs can be spotted around the house.

The wreckage

I went to Brooklyn last night to hang out with a filmmaker who I'll profile here much fun! So much wine! Later today, I'll post more from Kevin's. Just as soon as the coffee kicks in.

Tuesday, October 11

LA artist Kevin Inkawhich

Many years ago, in another lifetime when I was living in Los Angeles and working in a men's clothing store, I sold a tall man in bright green boots a pair of striped socks. On his way out, he reached into his back pocket, pulled out his Leatherman, and cut off the plastic tag with the blade of the knife. 

"What are you, some sort of craftsman?" I asked. Who carries a Leatherman around West Hollywood! (I'm talking about that multitool used by your everyday Indiana Jones.)

Sure, he said, he was a craftsman, or an artist, or a sculptor, or someone who makes things, often with plants. He goes by Kevin Ink, short for Inkawhich. As he became a customer and a friend over the years, I learned he often goes to the local flower markets at 5 am. I learned he makes amazing mobiles from found objects in nature. He also designs gardens, writes music, and he's walked the runway as a model for Yamamoto. He has beautiful hair. 

See photos of his work here.

I recently found these photos--they're from a visit to his Los Angeles pad from a while ago. A long while ago. Above, the living area...that's his lighting glowing above the chair. Below, a sweet seat for knitting wire (I'll show this lighting in a separate post)...a figure...a painting space... a bowl of wire, beads, lights, rope...
I'll post more from Kevin's this week...

Friday, October 7

Sometimes you're the matchbook, sometimes you're the table

You know? How is it Friday? I've had a matchbook of a week. On Monday I'll start posting pics from the home of the wonderful LA artist, who I can identify now as Kevin Ink. This photo is from Sarah's.

Happy weekending!

Tuesday, October 4

Sarah's Saarinen

I love this picture. From Sarah's. On the opposite wall is her piano roll

And I hope to post more on that LA artist...

Speaking of bedrooms, what's up with thread counts? It doesn't seem to matter what the high-three-digit number is, they all kinda suck. Where can I get good, soft sheets that aren't, like, Pratesi-crazy $$$? (And no flannel, thanks.) Help!

Monday, October 3

Anonymous in Dumbo

On Saturday night, I went to Anonymous's place in Dumbo before going to the arts festival Bring to Light in Greenpoint, apparently part of the Nuit Blanche events happening around the world. We watched baseball for a while, meaning, I got restless and started taking pictures, and that's the reflection of the flag in the window during the national anthem. And that's the Brooklyn Bridge. Anonymous, I realized, as I entered his closet, has a thing for multiples: shoes, harmonicas, guitars, scarves. Purple shoes! We took wine in coffee cups for the road.
Below, one of the installations. It smelled like incense, the lights went on and off, and the bearded guy sitting cross-legged in front of the xylophone howled into a microphone. "Are we part of history in the making?" I asked my friend Naomi. "Or--?" More photos after the jump...