Dragon Con Cosplay, Time Travel to 2012, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

The Face in the Crowd challenge asks how we can mask our subjects yet still let their uniqueness show through. The idea is making use of shadows, angles, or silhouettes, but I’m taking “mask” to heart and going for cosplay.

My hoarder instincts were challenged yesterday when I thought I’d lost a photo library I’d migrated from an old laptop before its hard drive failed. Panic — I am downsizing stuff, not photo files! Now in celebration of lost-is-found, I’m choosing photos from the virtual hoard today. Set your DeLorean DMC-12s for 2012 — and here we are in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, at Dragon Con:

Dragon Con Cosplay 2012

An expression perhaps too intent to be covering a giggle — maybe gobbling up a raw (or living) snack?

My Little Ponies - Dragon Con Parade 2012.

On the bright side – My Little Ponies prance (happily, always: ponies are happy!) in the parade.

Dragon Con Parade 2012 - Bender from Futurama

Bender: Our favorite “lovable rascal” from Futurama

Steampunk witch Dragon Con 2012

Steampunk was just gathering, um, steam, back in 2012, when they’d recently got their own track and their own exhibition space. I was impressed by this witch, her goggles, and her mechanical broom. I have not yet been able to convince my vacuum to fly.

Periodic Table of the Elements - Radon - Dragon Con Parade 2012

The Science Track marches as the Periodic Table of the Elements — here we have RN, radon. Not in our houses, we hope.

Polonium Polo - Periodic Table of the Elements Dragon Con Parade 2012

Polonium Polo – Periodic Table of the Elements

Francium - Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con Parade 2012

Francium – Periodic Table of the Elements. Striped shirt: check. Beret: check. Cigarette: check. Dog? Clearly I should have zoomed out…

Copper -Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con 2012

And just in case someone gets out of line, we have CU: Copper


I love the absurdity and creativity of Cosplay. It’s always fun to see what new things people come up with.  I could see myself as Faceless Old Woman (from ‘Welcome to Night Vale’). What would you choose?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

More on Dragon Con


Skylines, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

I’m from the midwest, so getting to see the Atlanta skyline every day now is a real treat for me. Why? Because now I can see the horizon, something I’ve missed in the years since moving here and living in a house beneath the tree canopy. But now the city is full of construction growth, and it looks like my chances for a horizon view could soon be gone. There’s still some space to the left of this view, but more new towers may be going up.

Atlanta forest of construction

If Atlanta is “a city in a forest”, right now it’s a forest of construction cranes, a big change from my now ex-house in the ‘burbs. This was a windy day, as you can see by the trees.

 Meanwhile, I’m having fun with the artifacts of growth…

Moon and red crane

The red crane is my favorite, so I keep trying to catch the moon in it

Then there’s waking up on a fogged-in white-out morning, with otherwise normal construction noises taking on an eerie quality, clacking and booming out of the nothing.

Atlanta white-out fog

‘The truth is out there’ and so are the people who are working.

The sunsets can be amazing…Sunset and Atlanta Biltmore

as can the street views. They’d stopped traffic for this next operation, and yes, I felt like I might not be parked in quite the most comfortable place.

Atlanta construction - street view

Next door to the new Whole Foods that’s going up on Spring Street.

Still, we’re small potatoes compared to “real” cities like New York. We don’t have that ultimate skyline view, our own iconic bridges, or the equivalent of the Chrysler Building.

Flying to New York March 2014

Flying in, March 2014. I always think of crystals growing upward.

Atlanta won’t be this dense anytime soon, so I may hold onto a little bit of skyline for a while yet.

What’s in your favorite view?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Water, Swans, Loess Bluffs, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Funny, there’s one thing so many serene images have in common: water. Doesn’t everyone long for a lakeside/seaside/brookside view? Is it because we are 60% water, born swimming, and all little mermaids at heart? Perhaps it’s because that’s where we came from, historically speaking (you know, crawling out of the primordial soup and all)?

Here are some somewhat-serene swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri last week —

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swan silhouettes in the evening light.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Getting nibbley…

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Still, sometimes there’s trouble in paradise.

Vacation trips are so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have to worry about my house. Water is not so peaceful and serene if it is leaking in the basement, for example.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

I kept trying for ‘seven swans a-swimming’ but six is the best I could do.

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Look closely at the sky. Your screen isn’t dirty – there are geese flying in for the evening.

But back to the primordial soup — I’ve always thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe, something to have for dinner when feeling primeval or dining in a single cell. Pasta in little amoeba shapes would be tasty, oh, and spiralized vegetables, and maybe some asparagus for its weird look.

What would you put in your primordial soup?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

More on the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge (aka Squaw Creek)

1970s-Era Denim, Counter-Couture at the MAD Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures

Downsizing got a little all-consuming around here this spring. This week’s ‘Textures’ challenge reminded me I hadn’t shared pictures from Counter-Couture – Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture, a show we saw at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York in March. And who wouldn’t want to see, or wear, a flaming horse (or chicken!) flying in the sky —

MAD Museum - Embroidery Detail - Anna Polesny - Fancy Jacket 1974

Detail: Anna Polesny – Fancy Jacket, 1974

These pieces were in the Levi’s Denim Art Contest of 1974. Anna Polesny was born in Czechoslovakia. This embroidery tells the story of her life and travels.

Here’s the winner of the 1975 Levi’s contest —

MAD Museum - Billy Shire - Welfare - Sneed - My Personal Belt - Detail

Billy Shire – Welfare – Sneed – My Personal Belt

The artist’s clothing has been worn by musicians in the bands Chicago and the Doobie Brothers, and by Elton John.

This is an 11-pound jacket. Rockers work hard. Some materials: upholstery tacks, handset studs, rhinestones… and yes, that’s a desk bell, meant to chime when the jacket is worn. There is also purportedly an ashtray, but I believe I remember it was on the back. On the belts: bicycle reflectors, rivets, and luggage-bottom studs.

MAD Museum - Billy Shire Denim Jacket detail

MAD Museum – Billy Shire Denim Jacket detail

Counter-Couture, Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture is on display at MAD through August 20, 2017.

Now back to downsizing — remember downsizing? I thought I’d donated or recycled all my oldest jeans, but here’s some denim I found in the depths of the closet this spring. My oldest jeans This isn’t even all the old jeans. No embroidery here, but the green jeans are 1970s era bellbottoms. As for embroidery, I do remember having some small well-behaved embroidery patches over holes, but of course nothing on the scale of the wonderful show items. I can offer this colorful inside label —

Green jeans vintage label

Vintage rainbow label in my 70s-era green jeans…

I guess having these makes me Ms Green Jeans. Is anyone else old, um, vintage enough to remember Mr Green Jeans?

More on Counter-Couture at MAD

More on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures



Bologna, The Whitney Biennial 2017, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

“It smells like bologna in here,” Sam said.  He meant bologna sausage, aka ‘baloney’. We were at the Whitney Biennial, and he’d been further into the room than I had. Here’s what we found when we went to investigate —

Claim: Whitney Biennial Version - Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Claim: Whitney Biennial Version – Pope.L aka William Pope.L. The hand stitched banner above is by artist Cauleen Smith. (I’m fond of the symmetry of the two red bags)

This is a grid of 2,755 slices of bologna, each tacked onto the appropriately pink background with a black and white photocopy portrait attached —

Detail - Claim:Whitney Biennial Version - Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Detail – Claim: Whitney Biennial Version – Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Playing with words and numbers, the artist’s ‘claim’ is that the number is related to New York’s percentage of Jewish population, though the photographs were chosen randomly. See that drip in the photo above? We were there a couple of weeks after the exhibition opened, and the passage of time was wreaking a little havoc with the materials in this piece.

Claim:Whitney Version - Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Greasy Art Stuff – nope, it’s not archival.

The curator’s note tells us that Pope.L has made other versions of this work, many focusing on Black subjects, and goes on to say that “Claim (Whitney Version) plays with our tendency to project ourselves onto numbers and stokes our awareness that such counting often lays the groundwork for systematic acts of discrimination.”

Conceptual art can challenge the viewer in ways that strictly visual art does not. Still, it’s rewarding to see it through, even though it’s dependent on our patience in being willing to read about it.

Um, there may be one potential problem here —Service dog at the WhitneyWe went on to view the next floor, so can’t say what happened when dog met art. Hopefully, training prevailed.

Claim won the the Bucksbaum Award, which recognizes one artist from each Biennial exhibition. The Whitney will host a show of Pope.L’s work this fall.

What do you think of this exhibition?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

The Whitney Biennial, 2017 (Catching up with the Past Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting)

Want to know what these people are looking at?  We’re in New York at the Whitney Biennial in March, and it’s hard to know whether to look up, down, out, or over.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Here’s a view from the platform —

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

You can tell this is a huge and site-specific installation, but even standing there in it, I couldn’t tell exactly how many floors were part of it and how many were illusions. The sky was down, or was it up? The traffic was up (and down) and the Hudson River was out (wasn’t it?). To each side were floors of sculpted interiors – with stratified layers of furniture, office, and institutional space, some nightmarish. Were they all even right-side up? I don’t think so.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

The clouds and the traffic, along with the occasional helicopter, provided movement. It was hypnotic. With so much going on, I didn’t take in the social commentary until I read about it. Not unusual, since I’m all about the visual when it comes to looking at art.

Like many recent exhibitions, this year’s Whitney Biennial was strong on social concerns. Suffice it to say that those layers were meant to provoke thoughts of social as well as visual stratification, referring to inequality and our political climate. I’ll share more images from this year’s exhibition in future posts.

How about it – do you look for the social implications or for the visual when you’re reflecting on art?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

More on the Whitney Museum


Remodeling, Painting Paneling, and the Weekly photo Challenge: Delta

One of the biggest changes I made to this house started back in February, documented in this earlier post on remodeling (and chaos).  Here’s a “before” shot of the room behind the mysterious plastic drape in that post —

Dark Judges paneling - I called it the 'Morris Room'

Dark Judges paneling – I called it the ‘Morris Room’ and yes, I knew it was too cluttered, but never got around to styling the shelves before it was time to pack up.

Of course it’s nothing like a real (William) Morris Room, say the cafe at the V&A in London, but I can dream, can’t I?

The Real Morris Room Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (from the V&A Museum website)

The Real Thing — Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (photo from the V&A Museum website)

When we first moved in, Bob liked the dark paneling, and I didn’t mind it. Though I eventually came around to the idea of painting it to lighten the room, without help, I doubt I would have trusted anyone to do a good job on the painting. Now I’m indebted to my organizer/designer/Renaissance woman helper, Leigh, able to leap small buildings and boss around unruly contractors. Here’s the room on the way to getting emptied out.

Starting to pack up my "Morris Room"...

Starting to pack up my “Morris Room”…

The other side, with cut-out for the bar area

The other side, with the old cut-out for the bar area

Transition continues with painting, and the bar area gets enclosed —

Changes to the "Morris Room"

Changes to the “Morris Room” (I’m not a fan of the enclosure, but it’s done now).

Painting the "Morris Room"

Painting the “Morris Room” – almost ready for the floor.

Starting over in the Morris Room

Starting over …

Painted paneling - new Morris Room

Painted paneling, and restyling by Leigh – I suppose we shouldn’t keep calling it the “Morris Room”

Lighter, brighter, and with new cabinet hardware and an updated ceiling fixture…I’m hoping it’s enough to freshen up my vintage furniture.

There is one funny thing about all these changes. As each project gets completed, I feel a little thrill of recognition — as if somehow I knew all along this is what I would end up doing, and how it would turn out, even if I couldn’t have articulated it before. I’m hoping that means I’m on the right path.

How’d we do? Let me know what you think — about the room, that is, not about how I’m a day late on the Delta photo challenge.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Delta

More on William Morris