Thursday, September 7, 2017

Unlike anything I've ever experienced ~ The Visitors at the SF MOMA

the performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson in a still from "The Visitors"

one of my favorite screens / rooms in the performance
Ragnar Kjartansson has done something with his performance art piece called "The Visitors" that I've never experienced before. When walking into a spacious dark room before the performance started on the seventh floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, my curiosity was peaked. As the events unfolded, I was mesmerized and got that tingling sensation on my skin that usually indicates I'm experiencing something profound and very spiritually moving. There were nine large screens set up all around the room and each one had images projected with speakers unique to each screen. On each of the nine screens, there was a solitary musical performer with an instrument. It didn't take long to see with their headphones that they were all performing as a symphony even though isolated in separate rooms. The hour-long piece was moving to the point that I sure didn't want to leave and so I stayed until the end. The New York Times wrote beautifully about the artist and this work when it came to the US for the first time.

Below are two videos, the first is Ragnar talking about the inspiration and execution of the piece and the second video is a four minute excerpt but it really does not do it justice, it is the kind of art that should be experienced in real time at the museum.

The cleansing nature of art

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso

Art is so subjective. That being said, here are some artists from this past weekend's 65th Sausalito Art Festival that really got my notice and I was impressed by the creativity.

Jeffrey Zachmann is a true master as a kinetic sculptor and has been at this art festival in years past. Here's a short video about him and his work. One can stand for quite awhile and just stare at his creations as they move.

Michael Gard has also been attending the festival for years and his figurative wire sculptures of many sizes are breathtaking and were whipping around in the breeze this past Monday, looking like they really were leaping on their own.

Elaine Unzicker is another veteran of the art festival and this year I stopped to talk with her awhile and say what a fan I am of her work (authentic metal lace accessories).  Her website is here and the photo I took of her below wearing some of her impressive "gloves".

A jewelry maker that is dear to me as a friend as well as an impressive artist is Katya Wittenstein of Katya Fused Glass.  I have a few of Katya's pieces, rings and necklaces. I almost never go anywhere without at least one of her rings on.  Below is a photo I snapped ... Katya is at right and Jill is on the left. Jill is also a friend and a dedicated fan of Katya's work. Each year for some years now she flies out from Florida to visit and help with the booth.

One more kinetic optical illusion sculptor is Ryan Kvande and his pieces were very engaging. You can see more about him here on his website


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Is it in the cupboard? Wouldn't you like to know? It was a lovely little fish.

The title of this post is from the incredibly surreal Monty Python's The Meaning of Life...

Yesterday morning started in Newport, Oregon with breakfast at The Coffee House down by the harbor. While sitting there enjoying a cup of coffee waiting for breakfast, a thunderous din of plastic crates hitting concrete started to my left and as I looked over, this is what I saw flying out with gravity like a train of plastic from the back of a semi truck:

Of course I felt sorry for the driver since he had a look on his face that perhaps it had happened before. The waitress confirmed that indeed it had even happened less than a week ago with a bin full of fish since that is what those containers usually hold... some kind of seafood for transport.

Following breakfast, I went over to a nearby pier where the commercial fishing boats unload their catch to watch my friend Keith doing his day job of measuring the albacore tuna as they were unloaded from a boat. That was very interesting...

fishing boat returning to Newport Harbor

Keith taking a moment between boats as he measured fish

loading the tuna from boat to boxes for shipping

loading the tuna into the boxes for shipping in freezer trucks

frozen albacore tuna

the beautiful Oregon coastline 

The Meaning of Life: Find the Fish

I wonder where that fish has gone. 
You did love it so. You looked after it like a son. 
And it went wherever I did go. 
Is it in the cupboard? Wouldn't you like to know? It was a lovely little fish. 
And it went wherever I did go. 
Where can that fish be? It is a most elusive fish! 
And it went wherever I did go. 
Ooooh, fishy, fishy, fishy fish! 
A-fish, a-fish, a-fish, a-fishy, ooooh. 
Ooooh, fishy, fishy, fishy fish! 
That went wherever I did go.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

LOVEJOY ~ the word describes the place

Portland, Oregon.

What a town. I'm visiting for a few days and I now know it's not my imagination -- this town is gentle and infused with love. There is a vibe that I'm sure has been here since the creation of the town by a man named Asa Lovejoy. His last name is the vibe: LOVE + JOY = Portland. You can feel it as you move around the town. On the way to breakfast two days ago, I encountered an envelope stuck in a crevice of a telephone pole on the corner of Thurman and 24th Ave in the NorthWest District addressed to "Barb". The next morning it was gone. I hope Barb got the note. I asked the waiter inside Nancy's Kitchen if he knew anything about it and he became animated to tell me that Barb indeed was a regular diner there.

even the dogs are chilled out more than other dogs 
art seen at a nearby coffee shop and so many interpretations

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Curiosities of the last two days

The past two days I've been on the road from the Bay Area up to Portland. These 723 miles are really filled with "curiosities". Some I don't even have photos of as I was making good time up the coast. One of my favorites though is from almost fifty years ago in Florence, Oregon:  "Exploding Whale Beach" . There is even a song about it, check it out. But maybe before the song, watch the actual archival video news broadcast to understand it.

The other curiosities along the way shown below ~ the fog is the perfect weather to profile such things and plenty of fog there was all the way up the coast.

at the famous Leggett Chandelier Tree

Memorial Lighthouse at Trinidad Bay ~ a monument dedicated to those lost at sea

Crescent City coastline with an eerie glow due to fires in Brookings, Oregon

goats at the stay Tuesday night ~ such playful and affectionate animals

the cows thought perhaps I was the farmer and were overly enthused when I stopped 

fog is so mysterious and has an ongoing dance with the sun

this building in Alsea Oregon captured my attention

kind of a portal to another dimension and I'm always curious about the history of what went on in buildings like this

fog and more fog ~ very dense from Crescent City all the way up to Cape Sebastian

Two days of travel / overnight in Crescent City (about half way)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

All of California is a vineyard now

From June 30th until July 9th I did a motorcycle journey from Alameda to Coronado and back for a total of 1,225 miles. Instead of flying, I needed to get down to Coronado for the Fourth of July and meeting up with family. One of the personal milestones was the fact that I rode through 111 degrees Fahrenheit through Encino and Lost Hills for about an hour on the way home. In theory I wouldn't think it was possible but was pleased to discover I survived and it really is a "mind over matter" situation because it felt like the First Circle of Hell.

The other fact that kept tumbling through my head during the trip was how most of the agriculture that I passed in my travels was now vineyards. No more food being grown, just grapes for wine. Who needs food? Just wine will do.

Lastly, the US Highway One between Cambria and Big Sur is going to be closed for a long long time. I did the research after hearing about the slides while I was staying in Cayucos and couldn't believe what I heard.  It was called the "Mother of all slides" in May of this year and after seeing THIS VIDEO, I could understand it. I'll miss riding up that coast but glad I did it when I did all these past years of recent.

down and back on same route for a total of 1,200+ miles

Highway 101, pleasant and feels safer than the Interstate 5 
on the way toward Arroyo Seco Campground heading west

vineyards in places that were once just barren, everywhere you go is a vineyard

hot and looks like a tinder box all through California right now

but always cool and foggy at the GG Bridge

unbelievable slides on Highway One from Cambria to Big Sur (this image from Google Earth)
in Woodland Hills, my temperature gauge read this for awhile

Saturday, June 24, 2017

gratitude to infinity and reflections after a week

This little gnome gif above summarizes how I feel after a week of being off the bike and "home". Here are some of my highlights for the record before too much time passes and I'll possibly forget.

Things I especially enjoyed on the trip:

  • sitting in cafes and discretely listening to conversations around me in order to write down "overheards" and boy-o-boy some were so interesting I could not write them down at all but see the last bullet point here for one of my favorite overheards
  • laughing when the waitresses in restaurants routinely asked me when I sat down "so what will you both be having" -- assuming my "other" must just be in the restroom
  • noting that many of the miles on this route were completely devoid of traffic, quite the contrast to the density of the Bay Area
  • thankful for evaporative cooling vest and cruise control on the motorcycle
  • very thankful for a handful of friends that put me up in their homes along the way, making the trip much more affordable
  • the stability, smoothness and functionality of my 2011 BMW R1200GSA ~ it just performed flawlessly and was a comfortable ride to boot
  • the wild animals never ran across my path with the exception of one daring prairie dog ten feet in front of me in Utah's Flaming Gorge area. Quite honestly before I left... the thought of a deer coming across my path had me concerned but the Hornet Deer Avoidance System seemed to actually work, I swear I saw a few deer running away quickly after seeing/hearing the device. I learned a new word at Arches National Park ~ Crepuscular and that's what deer are so they say
  • at Trimble Hot Springs near Durango on June 9th, a man in his late 50's and overly tan with shoulder length blonde hair appeared to look like an aging rock star was casually talking to a guest in the "hot hot" pool where I was relaxing... I floated along, trying to not look like I'm listening but finally between the parboiling water and what he said, I bolted. He said "I do spirit work for love donations and I don't have a fixed price."

Arcata on day 2 of the trip

three days before the end of my trip in Park City getting psyched up for three constant days of desert riding

the plastic flowers were there at the side of the road so why not?

Afton Wyoming in the morning ~ most of Wyoming looks about like this with occasional snow fences 
the Colorado National Monument

me and Banjo (Jenny Oh Hatfield's dear dog) in Durango on a "perfect" day

Silverton Colorado is really a lot like Switzerland

Crepuscular animals like this are good as long as I'm not encountering them on the motorcycle

me with Eleanor in Park City ~ didn't make it to the Film Festival but how fitting just for my trip

Ecker Hill Park City

I do feel the sense of protective forces when I ride especially on a trip like this

It's the little things I notice that make it so memorable ~
see my hands in reflection here as I take the photo on the Durango Silverton Railroad (between the cars)

a total of 3,927 miles ~ 3 weeks ~ in a clockwise direction