A QUARTER CENTURY AGO -
SEPTEMBER 11, 2007 4:01 PM

I celebrated my 25th birthday on September 7 2007. Most birthdays up until now I've focused on being with friends and enjoying a good party, but for whatever circumstances this year was different. I've been extremely busy with grad school and other commitments - so the day seemed to creep up on me unexpectedly. Emma met me downtown and gave me a new house plant (just what I wanted!) and a homemade card telling me she got me a subscription to the New Yorker too (also, just what I wanted!). But that was the peak of the b-day celebration and I was totally fine with that. People often talk about loosing interest in their birthdays, or try to avoid celebrating them - I don't think either of these things are true for me. This year was much more contemplative and about remembering. I mean, it has been a quarter century.

Earlier this year my dad celebrated his 50th birthday (half-century), which means he was my age when I was born. I'm looking forward to having little children, but I'm sure now is not the time - I can't even imagine being a father right now. I wonder if my dad felt the same way. While digging through my closet, I came across half of a book of photos that I managed to salvage from my parents basement before I moved out of the house. It's funny seeing my dad like this - I think the 25-year-old version of him and I have similar styles. If only Emma wouldn't give me shit for growing a mustache.

While laying in bed that night, I was laying in bed thinking about the library I created in my parents basement [which I talked about in my submission to the PHONEBOOK that came out earlier that day] and tried really hard to remember exactly what that basement looked like - in hopes that it would jog my memory. I wanted to remember the ways in which I attempted to categorize things at such a young age, but that didn't happen. Instead I started to remember other rooms in other houses growing up, which turned into a game to put myself to sleep (like counting sheep). I began to reflect on different phases of my life based on the spaces that my life played out in. I remembered the living room of the house I lived in on Orville until I was 5 - I remembered coming home with my parents to see that our dog Sadie had destroyed the Christmas tree. I then recalled a scene that may be my earliest memory. While visualizing walking from the living room, through the dining room and into the kitchen I remembered the the faux red brick linoleum that covered the kitchen. Then all of a sudden, I remembered being in the kitchen sink facing my brother who was sitting in the opposite sink. Someone was giving us a bath.

For the last few days scenes of empty rooms keep popping up in my head, as I zone out and then begin to daydream - filling the room with really specific vivid memories. I'm into birthdays being like this from now on.

P.S. I can now legally rent a car.

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PHONEBOOK: AN ANNUAL DIRECTORY FOR ALERNATIVE ARTSPACES
SEPTEMBER 10, 2007 5:42 PM

This past Friday Green Lantern Press and Three Walls released a book entitled PHONEBOOK: An annul directory for alternative artspaces. The book is a directory of artspaces all over the country organized by region.

The project is described by Caroline Picard of Green Lantern, "At a time when it is increasingly difficult to produce and support independent networks, as independent presses, labels, magazines and bookstores find it struggle to stay afloat, alternative gallery spaces thrive. Perhaps because these projects tend not to rely on commercial income, they reflect vibrant and often idiosyncratic communities and artistic practices. Generally these communities are self-contained and self-reflexive, appealing to particular sub-sections of local interest." [read the rest].

It sounds like they will be releasing a new directory each year and they encourage you to submit information about your own artspace or ones you know of. The directory is accompanied by about 10 pseudo-biographical essays about why people choose to create and take part in independent infrastructures by people like Michelle Grabner of the Suburban, Daniel Tucker of AREA Magazine, Phillip von Zweck of VONZWECK and myself where I discuss InCUBATE.

Not only is this an inspirational little booklet, but it is the ultimate tourist guide. I wish I had this directory this summer while driving through small town New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The book will should be available on Amazon by next week or you can order directly from Green Lantern Press [or probably get in from Quimby's].

P.S. The DAAC is listed in it!

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FINDING A PART-TIME JOB, IS A FULL-TIME BUMMER
SEPTEMBER 8, 2007 1:35 PM

Since I've been back in Chicago (one week now), I've been trying to find a part-time job for this upcoming year. Scouring idealist.org, school's career development office and craigslist.org - I've been spending more time looking for a job than working on things that really need to get done. Over the last week I've developed four different versions of my resume based on the four different job types I've been applying for - and have sent out about 20 different cover letters.

I was most excited to see this post on chicago.craigslist.org,
"quickly growing chicago based dot com needs dependable and organised, intelligent mac user to assist in a number of duties. the perfect applicant would have graphic/web design experience, excellent communication skills, mac based software proficiency, highly creative and resourceful. business is currently home based with off-site warehouse. you would work from home and have virtual and on-site meetings."

Work from home!? Virtual meetings!? Sounded super flexible and right up my alley. So I sent an email, very informal - no cover letter and the simple version of my resume. A day later I got a reply, it started out like:

"Ben,

Many thanks for your response to my craigslist posting. The projects i am working on are constantly evolving and deal mostly in the arts, both commercial, fine and erotic. I am building my business steadily and somewhat slowly so as to not become overwhelmed."

Hmm, sounds like it could still be promising - but "erotic"? I continued to read:

"Please go to see my ebay store. I can explain more of what needs to be done to create an independent website, representing artists, reselling high quality garments and other things. Really, what i do is rather complicated and is difficult to describe in an email."

Hmm, still seems like something I can do - nothing too weird, but WAIT:

"Finally, i also work in the adult film industry. You naturally would not have to be a model, but certainly be tolerant of some pretty colorful characters. Mostly i work in the distribution of films and related products (it's sure a lot more interesting than my old sales job). However, i have been in a film and will be in some others for a rather specific audience. Naturally, I keep the businesses totally separate and you would not need to tell future employers about this - i realise it's not everyone's cup of tea. Your work would include the handling of graphic materials."

Whoa, porn star!

Needless to say, even despite encouragement from friends, I did not reply. On Monday I received a couple of phone calls, and I have two interviews next week. Both jobs require clothing.

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