SEPTEMBER 13, 2005 7:33 PM

I saw this. It is the front of the old Reptile House on the corner of S. Division and Cherry, across the street from where I live. And no, I did not do it. [And no, I am not Meek].

And just in case you couldn't read it.

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2005 4:14 PM

As promised in my entry about my Oma and Poppey, I have photographed and transcribed a love letter between them that was written in Oct. of 1942. The letter was written by Poppey to my Oma. He was going to graduate school at Indiana University and she was living with her parents in New Jersey.

Continue reading "Oma and poppey pt. 2" »
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SEPTEMBER 7, 2005 1:36 AM

I have been reading this book: . It's about different projects that have engaged people to reclaim public space is some way, while working outside the framework of an institution. I wish I had read this book sooner, particularly while i was working on my Agrifitti project [read more].

The book is actually two books. Read one, flip it upside-down, and read the other. Brett Bloom writes in an introduction in both, and about The Spot in Belltown Paradise. Tonight, I also read an interview he conducted with a couple of others, entitled The Folds of an Institution. I found it very blunt, in that he talks about all the shit that goes along with working within an institution. It was also very inspiring, because the DAAC has also engaged in similar conversation, as we have been courted by larger institutions - which we declined for many of the reasons Bloom talks about in the interview [ie the oppresiveness of institutions].

This is not an novel idea, I mean most of you reading this - we all operate with this mentality everyday. I mean how DIY is G-Rad, the DAAC, etc. But I think it is interesting how he relates this idea to the 'art world.' But he brings up many good ideas: 1) How do you find a way to be autonomous within an institution and 2) If you spend so much time working in opposition of an institution, isn't it just an extension of their power?

Last summer I really wanted to tour the country and document the stories of DIY spaces/projects - very similar to this book. I would really love to have Brett Bloom come to Grand Rapids and speak. I think I will consult him on how to halt gentrification on the 100 block of S. Division, or at least offer an alternative.

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SEPTEMBER 5, 2005 9:57 PM

These photos were taken from the roof of where I now live. More can be seen on flickr. Comments (0)

SEPTEMBER 5, 2005 12:56 PM

It has been almost two years since I have had to move to a new apartment. But this move feels good, literally - I mean, sweating my ass off carrying things up stairs and down hallways, then walking into the new apt., into CENTRAL AC!

I am sad to leave my abode at wealthy/eastern. it was so cheap, and had so much character and the cats loved the roof.

oh.... the cats.

last week I had to put my precious Rudy to sleep. She had been excreting excess saliva, foam and was having seizures. The vet feared that she had rabies, and the only to test for it was to have her euthanized and send in the head for testing. As soon as we made the decision to euthanize her, we had to go straight to the emergency room to get rabies vacinations; one shot in the arm, three in the butt. Then we were to get 4 more shots periodically throughout the next month.

The test ended up being negative, she didn't have rabies, we didn't need any more shots.

Apparently, Rudy had some sort of encephalitis, possibly a growth in the brain. I miss her so much.

I'm not sure if I would have been able to stay in my old apartment, without getting totally sad at least once a day - seeing things that reminded me of her.

So now I am in a new apt., back on Division. It has been almost 4 years that I first lived on the 100 block of S. Division. At one point, while I was living in the apartment above what is now Scavenger Hunt, I began working on a project for Dwelling Place. I was to transcribe/re-transcribe the history of all the buildings on S. Division. I started with 115 and 117 S. Division, then went on to the building that now houses In the Image. This building fascinated me.

At one time it was the Union Brewery, now the Grand Rapids Brewing Co., which installed giant resevoirs in the basement of the building. These resevoirs are now filled with dry-cleaning chemicals from Uptown Cleaners, once located on Division/Wealthy. This is also one of the main reasons this building has not been developed yet. There is also a giant ballroom on the 3rd/4th floor of this building that is still intact.

Through out its history the building has been used as a furniture showroom, a brewery, a second hand store, a squatter's home - but no one has left there mark on the building like the Knights of Pythias. The Knights of Pythias are a fraternal order that were formed in the United States during the Civil War.

The Knights of Pythias is dedicated to the cause of universal peace and is pledged to the promotion of understanding among men of good will as the surest means of attaining it.

Their symbol is found in the center of the building, overlooking the street. It was once covered by an external facade, but four years ago [as the 100 block of S. Division began its dreaded first stages of gentrification] it became exposed.

This symbol is perfectly framed in my window. Save the Knights obvious Christian undertones, I find their message and symbol comforting: The primary object of fraternal organizations is to promote friendship among men and to relieve suffering. As I mourn for Rudy, and hope that the 100 block of S. Division can set an example of all ages, races and incomes living in the same square block; showing an alternative to the cruel displacing gentrification we know now - this symbol should remind us of that, not the Knights or fraternal orders, but of the shit we can fend off to bring the 100 block to its fullest potential.

[yes, I am not afraid to be cheezey]

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