Thursday, December 17, 2009

Piano Recital

Two posts in two days! A Neue Record.
As you may know, I teach piano lessons to one student at the moment, she's 8. Yesterday was our Holiday Recital. She played a couple songs, I played a Bach Prelude, she sang Jingle Bells and played Jolly Old St. Nicholas on guitar–she has many interests and I'm in full support of her pursuing them (though sometimes I wish she could focus on one thought for more than 5 seconds, but then again, she's 8). It was a lovely time for the audience of myself, her mother, and ten stuffed animals on the sofa who were lucky enough to get tickets to the show.

As we were having our "dress rehearsal", my student became distracted that the decorations on the piano were shaking when she was playing. I joked that maybe it was an earthquake. She said, "nuh uh!" and I said that she better play something quick before the piano falls into a crevasse or something equally dramatic. She responded with: "I don't care about playing! I care about LIVING!!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Nathan Hall Collection of jewelry was mentioned in Pittsburgh's PopCity Media blog today! I say Nathan Hall Collection as if it were the Jacqueline Smith Collection at Wal-Mart or something. In actually it's called 'n by nathan hall' and in the few moments of spare time I have, I made sculptural jewelry things out of twisted wire, crocheted items, lots of earrings, and some nearly unwearable avant-garde-looking things. Either way, I think it's my first press that I haven't solicited myself! And I get called an artist, that's good, right? Maybe commissions for birds-nests creations will skyrocket.

"The number of names on my list dwindling as rapidly as my shopping stamina, I slipped into the Mattress Factory to check the status of two things on my own wish list: a belt buckle crafted by Ohio-based company Maxine, Dear, from the salvaged pages of old children's books, and a silver bird's-nest-like necklace created by local artist Nathan Hall."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stalactite Debut

My sculpture 'Stalactite' debuted last night at SPACE gallery in downtown Pittsburgh! I crocheted the wire, created a soundtrack with my voice that sounds like cave noises, and hooked up speakers to project the sound out of the sculpture. Overall I was quite happy with how it turned out- it wasn't my original vision to have the top part be so curvy but apparently a lot of people liked the waves. And whose project ever turns out exactly like they plan it anyway?

Thanks to all who came to the opening, even though it was so loud that my piece was inaudible... You could still look at it, though, and that's a large part of the appeal. It's on view at SPACE until Feb. 13, 2010. Here are some photos of the installation process and its opening night- thanks to Nikki who took my and B's picture for an action shot, and thanks to Nikki and Laura for curating such a strong show of local museum talent.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Waffle Shop and Vocal Assembly

I recently was a part of one of the strangest gigs I think I've ever done. A group that I sing in called Vocal Assembly was asked to sing in a Live YouTube Soundtrack Battle in a Waffle Shop. Let me explain. Vocal Assembly is a group of singers who perform our own compositions of things like graphic scores, text pieces, and improvised music. It's fun. Waffle Shop is a restaurant-slash-TV show that serves waffles but also interviews community members about things they might find important. The waffles are delicious. The venue decided to host an event which takes two live bands, and pairs them up against one another, and the two bands "compete" to perform live soundtracks to videos. The videos are projected onto a screen in the waffle shop along with a live feed of the performances. Bands trade off so each group performs the short clip, which is shown twice.
But there's also a catch! The performance was videotaped in the kitchen of the waffle shop. We managed to get a quartet of singers, a drummer, a keyboardist, and an electronic musician with laptop and supplies, along with two video cameras, a monitor, and TV screen to watch the videos all crammed into a tiny kitchen. It seemed like no small feat. And it seems like an unsuccessful idea, but somehow it manages to work. We pulled it off! The videos will go up on YouTube at some point in the future. We also got free waffles (hooray!).
But the best part of the night was for what few people were in the "audience", one woman, a mother of one of the other band's performers, decided to congratulate us on such an interesting performance. She was pretty drunk. She managed to tell us about her life in New York, the lack of new exciting music, how great Pittsburgh is, her rotator cuff surgery, how we should get to know the music of Laura Nyro, and most shockingly, the fact that this woman's mother passed away less than 24 hours prior. She also called our performance "delicious", along with several other things throughout the night that usually aren't termed "delicious" but it somehow made sense. Then she gave us all hugs, and thanked us some more for making her evening so enjoyable, and then asked if she could give us all a kiss.
It was a memorable night. (click on the comic to enlarge.)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mr. Potato Head

Artful photographs and retouched images of my great Mr. Potato Head Collection, circa 2007. I can't believe I didn't post these when they were actually happening! I think it's because I gave the printed photos as gifts...'cause I'm such a good friend, of course, who wouldn't want to get these beauts in the mail. The one above is a remake of Michaelangelo's Pieta! Can't you see the resemblance?
This one is Butt Belly.
That one is obviously American Gothic!
This one I like to call 'Brown on Brown'. It really recalls the Suprematist compositions of the mid twentieth-century, highlighting the flatness of Clement Greenburg's modernist thesis while still recalling the works of Kurt Schwitters. It's also a cow butt.
This is the food pyramid! Well, before it was inverted into an upside-down triangle. You have your carbs and vegetables (and potatoes...poor guy, he's on the dinner plate and still clings onto some broccoli) on the bottom and your meats on the top.
Finally, to leave you with a final 'wow' piece, I give you the very influential work, 'Abstraction with Carrot and Ear-Hat'. Thank you.