July 31, 2010

belle nuit des ├ętoiles

How can you remain uninspired for any length of time.

When the site of a sewing machine light in the dark looks like this.

And it makes me glad I am an artist. 

And that possibilities are endless.


And working on my deck on a summer night feels like 


Yes, There is a calm before a towering amount of work. 

Before hours of late night sodas and early bird songs.

Before mistakes. Before brilliance. 

Before. Wow. I thought it and then it was.

Before how to continue and what next and is this really getting me anywhere or getting anyone anywhere.


Excuse me, while I soak up the glittering night.



Royal de Luxe

I have known about this little girl, who is actually a giant, who walks through the streets. 

I have stared at her and her performances that push me back in my chair as I gasp at the shear size and manipulation of such artistic feats.

They are beautiful.

They are brilliant.

But yesterday, when researching amazing things, I saw that the marionette company from France, Royal de Luxe, performed as part of the yearly event in 2009 celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This time, the little girl (who I repeat, is a GIANT) searches for her uncle.

And. by the way. This is unreal.

And when I first saw it, I had all kinds of reactions including audible shrieks from my seat in the back of the coffee shop. and weirdly enough, I was saying it made me almost throw up. in a - I CANNOT CONTAIN MY FEELINGS- sort of way.


July 29, 2010

Ode to stationwagons and soundtracks.

I grew up with station wagons.

I can remember the first time my dad came home with one. I was pretty sure we won something. because I thought you were rich if you had a station wagon. ( I also thought you were rich if you had a trampoline. VCR. or those icee freezer pops. )

Immediately we named the very back seat the "tippy back." It made perfect sense because it was not just the back seat. it was the verrrrrry faaaarthest back seat possible. I am currently cracking up at this. Because, as usual, nicknames make perfect sense at the time and then stick so severely that we never realize it is not the legit name of someone or something. You should hear what the people in my family are called. We have a woodles. balls. bean. binks. scar tissue. boogerman, esquire... The list goes on. and is not always appropriate. because we arent.

you know what else was weird. being in the tippy and in a traffic jam, or waiting at a light. AWWWKWARRD. I think you realize that when you are 10 yrs old on. It is like a forced conversation with no ability to speak. you just stare through 2 layers of glass at a slight height difference.

The middle of my life ( if you divide it from birth to present ) has a soundtrack. I revert to it when I need to just check out and sit in the passenger seat. metaphorically the passenger seat of those gray station wagons we had. (preferably, on a road trip to Charlotte to stay with my Great Aunt. so many stories with/about her. Lolly)

We always had 2 of the very same family car. No explanation given.

We ruled.

So this post goes out to Rod Stewart and Paul Simon.  Because your cassette tape station wagon soundtracks were my jam.

and when I hear you guys sing, any concerns shoot out the manual window. of life.
too far? ok. but they do make me think of gatorade and slim jims. which were my regular gas station stop choice.

{Note:  before those guys, we only had one tape. ever. and we played music in our cars less than 5% of the time. It was a late 1950's - early 1960's mix cd (wake up little susie, love is strange, duke of earl, tommy and laura were lovers... you get the idea.) That tape by the way, I love with my whole heart.}

 So bring over some of your old Motown records. Put the speakers in the window and we'll go.

July 26, 2010

Some kids are cooler than others.

Exhibit A.



I took a long trek from home and drove my truck into the country. through mountain roads, antique shops, and flea markets.

To teach:

M.A.D. camp

.Music Art and Drama. 

This arts camp draws students (rising 3rd graders - rising 9th graders) from all over the Southwest Virginia mountains.

And they are arguably some of the best kids. 





This was my 4th year directing the Art portion of the camp. 

The supplies take over my house.

Then I load them in my truck and blast some tunes.



And my not-so-secret obsession is... 

Is it pretty there?

I guess. 

If you like this sort of thing...

And the kids,

When they get excited, I do too.

and they can be awesome.

I love that they listen and lean forward when I talk about Mary Cassatt. 

And how her parents were worried that she wanted to be a professional artist. 

But she was one of few women in the 1860's who chose this path.

and committed to it.

And sometimes I even love how they raise their hand when they don't have an answer or a question, but they just got carried away and wanted to raise their hand.


And I find this out after I call on them. 

The whole feat is a rush. 

But I must say. I nailed my estimations this year on how many supplies I would need etc. 

Only a sequin explosion mid week and a minor scissor injury. 

Things went off amazingly well. 

And I miss their messes already.

Like when I ask them to take their trays and brushes and sponges to the bathroom and clean them off really well.

And they come back and hand the materials to me.

And before I turn around, I realize one student managed to fill the tray with muddy gray water and it is now running down my leg.

And the student is chanting as he trots away, " there you go. clean like you asked."

and I realize that he meant well, so I secretly toss this one in the trash.

Badge of honor.

You can't buy this stuff.

check out these guys.

Project avalanche.

This is the best shot I have of the belts they made. arg.

What was I thinking?!! It's like I was busy teaching or something.

some of the workshop leaders
we will.we will. rock you.

Go team.


In other news. I can't stop eating peaches. 

It is out of hand. *



      *I have had four already today. in a way-too-short time period. 

What's next?.... I couldn't tell you. I cant get off the couch and cope with life yet. zzzzzz.
so hard to function.


July 16, 2010

My life as a 47 year old man. - Disclaimer: generalizations galore ahead.

I guess let's start with this.

And how excited I get walking into one of these on a weekend. When the opportunities are endless.

and you I think,

Maybe I do need to look at 500 door knobs at once!


Dont I need a hinge?

Dont I need 8579345823 hinges?!?!!

Should I build those shelves I have always wanted? or replace every drawer pull I own?

or paint my room lavender? with cream trim and faux wallpaper up the side of the door?

It is a toystore.

With one too many workers.


No, I am totally Ok with all the help. I think it is fab. 
In fact, I need you orange people to solve the ridiculous problems I have. 
And to cut the wood down in the lumber section.

But I am also aware of the thoughts the employees are having when they ask if I need help.

Because they say them.


"You sure are young to be buying lumber."

I have no idea what cracks me up more- that I do look 12 on occasion, or that age matters when buying lumber.

So I try to avoid too much ridiculousness if I am in a hurry. and honestly, it comes from other shoppers more than workers.

The second I walk in - I walk with purpose.

 I focus my eyes on the aisle I need and dodge the aproned characters with their names sharpied in on the blank printed line at the top.

But inevitably I get a lot of... "maam can I help you" and "is everything going ok?" and "do you know what you are looking for?"

Yes, I know what I am looking for.




This weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to count the times someone tried to help me compared to the length of time I was in the store.

I was in the store no longer than 10 minutes buying rope and tie downs for my truck. and I was asked if I needed help 6 times.

Do what you will with that information. It is a poll I thought was necessary to take. and report.

Speaking of trucks... I have one. And if the hardware store isn't hilarious, driving this truck around is.

Look. He is smiling.

 I always knew when I bought a car it would be a truck.

I love them.

Other than the fact that I always knew this, it is the most practical vehicle for someone who carries props, puppets, sets, supplies, and other large objects.

Within the first week that I bought it, I had no idea how I lived without it.

Pre pickup, I had to rent trucks and cargo vans to move my work numerous times. 

When I take it into a shop, get the oil changed, or go to a drive through I'm pretty sure people think it's borrowed.

How do I know?

They say things.

Once in a drive through, a man hollered from a distance as he walked in the restaurant-

"You gotta make sure you turn wide in that."

(I have no idea why he said this other than he thought it was appropriate to yell out pointers to me.
I didn't turn short or anything. to this day I am baffled).

but in his defense, because of him, I do always think about turning wide. aha

Just this weekend the man working the drive through said, "Oh, we're a big truck driver now"

WHAT?! Ahaha.?!!! "um.yeah. can you give me a side of buffalo sauce too."

Anyways. This is what happens when your life parallels that of a middle aged man.

I'm not complaining. I just like to share.

July 12, 2010

Here comes the sun.

I make work because

 I am moved to.

Like here,

When we took my nephew on a little road trip last weekend

he quietly bent down at my dad's grave site on his own. 


He was very quiet and studied it. 

He never met his grandpa. 

But his grandpa is part of him.


Ah, life goes on.  

And it is sweet.


July 9, 2010

Believe it.

Sometimes I feel pressured to post on here.  It's dumb. but I think it's part of whatever force of nature causes me to build work and make creatures until I make it big and join the circus. 

Must be that same force that doesn't let me feel comfortable eating wasabi peas on the couch. 

Because, if there isn't a drawing in my lap I'm "wasting time." That same force gets me out of bed at 7am on my days out of the office and gets me in bed after 1am on my workdays.

I think I mainly feel obligated to support the 3 people who look on here to see if there is a new post. Thank you guys. Your checks are in the mail.

I would like to high five anyone who wonders= which 3 readers are getting paid? You people are gems. keep reading.


So, in an effort to publish a blog post (which is on my to do list), I thought I would write my to do list here and kill 2 birds with one stone -

Or one bird with my rearview mirror. 

It happened a couple weeks ago. it was awful. it was too close to my face. Think about it- you drive with your face right by that side mirror. and the bird clipped it. I watched his bod in his last moments. The sound was repulsively light. almost like a "tap."  

Ew. vomit.  Did I lose anyone? that brings me to another point- If you start a blog you need to know that what NOT to say becomes a more time consuming thought than what TO say. Slowly but surely I am more detailed (cautiously). I think I have to be more detailed since I make puppets. ha. no really. I think I have to be.

Because- Look- the phrase "I make puppets" is creepy by nature.

But I am not creepy.

But I support creepy.

No- I support odd. Odd that is beautiful and specific. 

Not the Odd that is completely off putting and lacking.

Photo by: Ari Douthit, Art Design/Floor Painting by: Abernathy Bland, Location: Ontological-Hysteric Theater, East Village, NYC, Show: Old Kent Road Theater's I Stand For Nothing



This is nice work. Beautiful song. Eerie. I know. but watch it all. then watch it again. and after that- when you hear the song in a coffee shop you are cooler than everyone else.

Click here for
Song by Josh Ritter and 
Video by Liam Hurley

That song reminds me of the attachment I have to the work I make. 

So my point is that details are important. If anything, they are important for the sheer fact that I have little creature limbs in my backpack sometimes and creature body parts in my truck. 

And how will you know if I don't tell you?

I had to bring a puppet head into work the other day... under my desk... so it wouldnt melt in the car. Can you imagine if there were a sudden search for drugs and a dog came by and smelled the bag and they had to just check and see what was in there... and there was a puppet head.

I would surely be brought in.

These are things that happen to me. and usually I am the only one who knows. unless I feel the need to make the facebook community aware.

So- Without making longer and lengthening out or stretching to the highest degree the delay. 

My current to do list:

1. Make a logo for my favorite theater company. that I happen to work with.
2. Finish and figure out framing for The Carousel Series of marker and thread drawings. get these guys in coffee shops. make money. and get to Italy.
3. Prepare for MusicArtDrama Camp. soon and very soon.- lesson plans. get supplies. make sample projects. show kids that they are clever and love on new and returning campers.
4. Build masks for my collaborative California piece. with my fab choreographer friend in LA.
5. Prep a show proposal. For this town.
6. Blog post- Check.


I love the people who send me emails and notes that they are following me on this little journey that could will. If I could, I would invite you all to a party and we would rent slip and slides and eat tons of watermelon. and then do karaoke later and limbo. and make smores. and capture the summer in jars. like lightning bugs.



July 5, 2010

Worry bird.

I was on a birthday vacation.

I did not travel.

I just didn't worry as much about waking up early and going to bed late to finish work.

but I'm back at it again. 

I missed the waking up early part.

and I'm off on adventures. 

Big ones. 

my bag is packed. 


First up:  

MAD camp. 

Music Art and Drama Camp. 

I direct the art at this camp in the mountains. I need to prep lessons, supplies, etc. before I go.

you can see here that last year went well.

My truck will head west in a couple of weeks. 

I will probably haul some xylophones.

i love music. almost more than everything.