Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tempo lib(e)ro

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If you were my camera, where would you be?

If you were my camera, where would you be?
Would you be tasting salt spray in Paia, or gazing
out over the yachts in Camden Harbor all bundled up
for winter?
Would you be climbing the steps toward the dome of St. Paul’s,
or patiently waiting for a glimpse of blue sky after
we land, after
we dock, after
we leave this God-forsaken gray?

If you were my camera, would you wonder whether the elephant seals were back, or
where the humpbacks go for winter, or
why the great blue heron is always on the other side of the river?
Would you demand a daily walk?
Would you prefer a quick shot after dinner to take the edge off the day,
or a good long time staring up at the night sky pointing out meteors?

If you were my camera, would you sit in that
bag, in that
corner, in that
room with nothing to read?
Would you search your memory for brighter days?

If you were my camera, would you wonder where I was?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Now I just need a cat

I wonder if we could scale this up for Dobbie. She loves perching high up on the back of the couch or on the end table.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heard it on the radio

I love the radio when I’m driving. Lisa prefers her own playlist on her iPod, but I love the randomness and diversity of spinning the dial. At home my music selection is mostly limited to folk and rock and jazz, but in the car I happily add in hip hop and country and Latin and the frequently uncategorizable local college station shows. And sports radio, and talk radio, and hate radio, and NPR, and almost anything that’s not Diane Rehm. But I only recall being really stunned by music on the radio twice.

On July 21, 1990, I was driving in a small town in Pennsylvania and heard a cover of a song from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. And then I heard another. In my memory, it was Joni Mitchell doing “Goodbye Blue Sky.” And then I found out that this was a live broadcast from Berlin. I hadn’t heard this concert was happening, and here I was listening to a concert in Berlin while it was happening from my car in Pennsylvania. My 5 minute drive across town lasted over an hour.

About 250,000 miles later, on January 10, 2011, I was leaving Pennsylvania and had just started picking up radio stations in upstate New York. It was 11 a.m., at the time of the national moment of silence for the Arizona murders. The most prominent victim, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was lying in a hospital, somehow alive after having been shot in the head. I had wondered what music stations would do for the moment of silence, and the station I was listening to chose to play “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. With the repeated lyrics “I would go through all this pain, Take a bullet straight through my brain, Yes, I would die for ya baby, But you won't do the same.”

It’s almost enough to make me get an iPod too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Resolution isn’t everything

On the left is the custom design job for a client to be printed at 11x17. On the right is what was just delivered. Forgive the webcam limitations: the printed version on the right has deep blacks on a perfect white background and is sharp as a tack. Except that everything has been turned into some sort of Space Invaders parody. Thanks, cafepress, but try again.

Slow down, you move too fast

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It’s not just a pack of lions

Each year, local cultural councils in Massachusetts give grants to over 5000 projects and events. We’ve just found out that one of the projects we helped fund last year is being named one of the 6 best for 2010 by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

This is a tremendous recognition, and I’m really proud that we gave them funding, promoted the event, and nominated them for this state award. I’m proud that a top 0.1% project happened in my town. I’m proud that the Massachusetts Cultural Council has given my town two awards in the past three years. We should be trumpeting this from the rooftops, showing the rest of our local government that our town can properly lay claim to a recognized arts scene, and telling our community that they should be proud too.

And because this project spanned two towns, and was funded by a neighboring local cultural council as well, they should be just as proud. And it gives all of us an opportunity to celebrate together, to construct more connections between our arts communities, and to break down some of the parochial walls that the local cultural council guidelines sometimes encourage us to construct. My conversations with people who serve on nearby local cultural councils have been encouraging, enlightening, supportive, and far too infrequent.

I want to have a party, damn it. I want to invite everyone we can think of, and get it in the papers, and celebrate what the organizers and performers and supporters and funding agencies made happen. I want to encourage our current and future grant recipients by showing them how successful they can be if they set their sights high enough. We can have a combined reception, hosted by both local cultural councils, for our grant recipients and our supporters and our local politicians and us. We’ve done one of these for just our town two years running, so we know what works. People from the Massachusetts Cultural Council would be happy to come and present the award in person at our party, and everyone could mingle and talk and celebrate and feel a sense of growth in this era of endless budget cuts.

But our towns are not equal, and there are class resentments, and perhaps more people would come from one side than from another, and then the balance would be all askew and nobody would have a good time. So the other local cultural council, the one I so hoped to forge connections to, would rather avoid the possibility of some perception of imbalance. Why have a celebration for 100 people when you could have a celebration for 20 instead, and thereby ensure a more perfect sense of equity?

It’s a lost opportunity, and an extremely rare one. The state has never given this award to a project that spanned multiple towns. I’m very frustrated that we are throwing away this chance to tell our story to 100 people. If we’re not even willing to do that, how are we going to tell our story to the 50,000 who live in our town?

A top 0.1% project happened in our town last year. We should be proud.