Lunch: NASA Astronaut Joan Higginbotham and Mexican Lasagna? OK.

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This gallery contains 17 photos.

Lunch with an astronaut would have only been better in space. Continue reading

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Bill Donohue, bite me.

I hope God is prescribing Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, ten bazillion gamillion Hail Marys right about now.

This morning, NPR played a sound bite so embarrassing that I swear I could hear SNL sketch writers feverishly reworking it into a last minute skit for Saturday’s broadcast. When interviewed regarding his position on artist David Wojnarowicz’s short film, which Donohue and his Ned Flanders Army recently had removed from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Donohue said it was unfair that museums are federally funded “leisure activities for the rich” when the “working class” doesn’t frequent them. He said he’d like to see our tax dollars go toward paying for entertainment that better suits the average American, like wrestling.

Although, I am sure the Pope, who hangs out at the world famous Sistine Chapel Wrestling Arena (painted by one of the most famous wrestlers of all time, cough, cough), must have cringed himself into contortion, Mr. Bill Donohue continued to discuss how he, himself, had not attended any museums in forever. The pride in his voice was unsettling because it’s a bit abnormal for someone to be so delighted with himself for lacking cultural merit.

As if that wasn’t enough, Donohue wants all funding pulled now for the museum. God is gonna be super pissed about that. After all, religious art is a major part of what I see in museums. It’s always relevant and generally reverent.

Captain Crazy told the Post:

I hope they will reconsider funding. After all, why should the working class pay for the leisure, e.g., going to museums, of the upper class? We don’t subsidize professional wrestling, yet the working class has to pay for the leisure of the rick. Not only that, because the elites don’t smoke, they bar the working class from smoking in arenas. This is class discrimination and should be opposed by those committed to social justice.” [SIC]

(Read the full interview with the Post here. It is amazing. Seriously.)

Oh, sheesh. Lighten up, Francis.

The irony of this is really that Donohue thinks wrestling is more wholesome than fine art, which begs the question: Is Donohue also ignorant of the basics of American wrestling? It’s kind of like the Bible, yes, but with more sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t speak for the Pope, but I am pretty sure he’d rather endorse the Smithsonian before the WWF.

Furthermore, why does Bill Donohue repeatedly confuse the “working class” with people who would prefer wrestling events? Last I checked, I am a card carrying unionista who also has a family membership at the museum. Bite me, Bill.

This asshat has gotten pretty far with his boycott. The Smithsonian actually removed the “offensive” art in question. It’s important to understand that no one is going to stand up and protect you from the crazies who are trying to introduce “intelligent design” to your kids and limit your freedoms of speech, etc. You have to stand up for yourself, your opinions, your rights, et al, and do the work necessary to ensure people like Donohue and his band of freakazoids are powerless.

If you do nothing, you get nothing.

Return of Le Billet Cache

A few years ago, Russell and I cozied up under the covers and opened a slew of French Dunnys. It was like making out and binge eating and 9 and 1/2 Weeks and fantasy spree shopping all rolled-up together for two nerds in love.

Then Russell opened a blind box with a golden ticket enclosed, and everything came to a stand still. That was a great day.

A year later, KidRobot mailed our super-limited, totally awesome, completely radical prize: the 8″ Supakitch/Koralie French Dunny. When I unpacked her accessories — earbuds and a special Dunny iPod — I forgave KidRobot for anything they’ve ever done to irk me. High five, that was a great day.

Supakitch and Koralie have just finalized their mural for the Swedish Gothenburg Museum of World Culture, and, thanks to elr°y, there’s an outstanding film clip orchestrated to a track by D*L*i*d. It’s a great day. Again.

Here’s Supakitch, where you can “listen to [his] pictures.” And here’s Koralie’s equally entertaining web domain.

This concludes my American billet-doux for my favorite le billet cache squad.

Your iPod called.

It says it’s got more than enough room left for you to download Catherine Davis‘s score for Hubbard/Birchler’s short film House with Pool.

Although I’m familiar with only a small portion of the work for which Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler have partnered over the last two decades, something about House with Pool stirred up dregs from my adolescence. Davis’s accompanying musical composition Annunciation affected urgency: I wanted to fix whatever was missing or wrong between the female characters not only in the film, but also in my own life.

Davis‘s work with the super art duo is currently available for download on iTunes and from Hubbard/Birchler’s official website. While you’re there, take a moment to view other media from the artists.

If you’re fortunate enough to be a student in Austin, you should investigate available courses in which Hubbard is involved, amongst many other things, as an associate professor for University of Texas.

[Original video source: http://www.hubbardbirchler.net/works/housewithpool/%5D

You wouldn’t download a car…

…but you’d sneak a camera into various modern art installations.

The Bell in the world won't listen entrance, 2008

At some point in the past decade, Dieter-y pretentious art films collided into that end of Generation X-sters who collect things like first-edition, autographed Douglas Coupland novels. And thank god, I guess. It’s exactly the kind of snobby downgrade I needed in order to dig the genre.

I pretty much moved into Phil Collins’ the world won’t listen installation [cur: Suzanne Weaver] when the DMA lurched out of the dark ages with that acquisition. I flipped out for a few months straight: “Did you hear the DMA has freaking Smiths’ karaoke choreographed on three screens? No kidding!”

In the middle of the exhibit’s neverending loop, a supercool Asian couple sing the best version of “There is a Light” — available nowhere unless you’ve got some direct line to a modern art miracle.

At 00:16, Bella’s fourth grade voice spells it out, “You’re really recording this?”

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the last half of that clip since the installation packed up and disappeared. The girl in that snippet owns the song. That said: Phil Collins, what’s up? Isn’t there a deal you can strike for rights to release this as a DVD? Or something? I’m sure this has been causing hair loss for those rabid Smiths’ completists out there unable to sleep since the project’s launch in 2005, heh.

Last night, I finally bought the book. Then Bella framed the show poster for me this weekend. Today’s my birthday. Someone out there in the vast netherwebz has got to have a super-secret, complete recording of Awesome Asian Karaoke Lady. Send me a present.

I’ll gladly accept something else from Mr. Collins in lieu of pirate treasure, though!

Blind boxes and more: We are 1976

“I will trade you one Doktor A yo-yo from the Steve Brown Gallery for that third Baroness you pulled — with the lipstick accessory.”

If you understood that snippet from the lunch conversation with my fossil-hunting, DJ pal Michael Hernandez, we’ve got some trading to do. If not, never fear. There’s always room for conversion into the dark, dark world of Toy-spotting.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started: an extra garage for all the boxes you’ll “have” to save, the ability to assemble IKEA’s DETOLF display units at a rate of speed compensatory to your growing collection, lack of anything resembling buyer’s remorse, and, duh, a dealer. Preferably several.

Michael and I’d been meaning to visit a newish store called “We Are 1976” on Henderson after hearing good things from others, so I decided to finally go ahead and scope it out yesterday afternoon with Russell and The Bell.

The inventory, unlike many stores that sell art toys and the like, was eclectic with a complimentary blend of local and international items. A large, repurposed cabinet by the entrance stopped us for some time as we browsed screenprinted flatstock within its drawers. I noticed copies of local artist Khalid Robertson’s book I’d just ordered online next to a truly nice, varied selection of other artists’ publications. Also available: Tyson Summers‘ circus punks, large prints by Tony Bones, pottery, handmade greeting cards, purses, unique baby items and children’s bento boxes, t-shirts, and many other fun things we enjoyed looking through.

The owner, who says he’s co-owned the store since November along with two other partners, was a really friendly guy, chatting with guests and friends alike as he worked and generally lent a warmness to the store’s already welcoming aesthetic. By that point, I was really just looking to buy anything out of appreciation, but when I found the Noferin figures on a top shelf, the deal was done. I only had to decide which one I was taking home that day.

Noferin, a couple who makes whimsical sustainable wooden toys after fictional characters from their paintings, isn’t the cup of tea you’ll find just anywhere. Their art is on the more sophisticated end of the niche, yet still appeals to people who collect popular vinyl and plush from companies like Kidrobot. Really excited about finding a store that stocks several types of Noferin toys, I narrowed my decision down to a colored first edition of Fanelli.

 

 

 

Fanelli's maiden voyage

 

 

The twins

 

(For charming Fanelli photos, see Sandrine Escamilla’s fantastic collection.)

So obviously I’m going back to We Are 1976 because Fanelli will need cohorts. Plus, I’m gonna have to drag Michael up there ASAP. You should go, too. They’re open 7 days a week: 1902 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas, TX, 75206. Telephone: (214) 821-1976. If you can pull yourself away from Facebook for five seconds, visit them online at weare1976.com where you can read about the store’s workshops, gallery events, and more:

  • This Friday, July 23rd at 8 p.m., We Are 1976 will host its first photography show with Jeremy Sharp;
  • Saturday, August 7th from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Paper Nerds will be conducting a paper marbling course (call for info and registration);
  • August 8th, Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Mike Arreaga and Brian McCorquodale host a screenprinting workshop (call for info and registration);
  • Felt tote making with recycled leather and other materials: Lizzy Wetzel on August 14th from 11 a.m. ’til 1 p.m.

***I also recommend the fairly priced boutique as an excellent gift store. A-hem. Gift. Store. As in: My birthday is next month, and there are lots of things inside that place I probably need for such an occasion, er, Russell.***

 

Dude, Clover B., I didn't call for hair and makeup yet. Pfft.

 

Things that suck. Literally.

That sound you’re hearing is a nerd alert. Proceed with caution.

A couple of months ago I was lying around the house sick for a few weeks, scouring eBay and other online haunts for crap-I-didn’t-need-but-had-to-order because my sick brain was, like, “If you don’t have the entire Where the Wild Things Are set from Kubrick, etc., you’ll never be able to live with yourself later.”

During my bout of pharmaceutically enhanced internet mania, I made two important discoveries:

  1. There’s something magical about ordering something online and then receiving it three days later without ever leaving your house or taking off your stinky, sick-person robe;
  2. The Vader Project was finally holding its long-awaited charity auction, and there was going to be a fancy-pants catalog — perfect for folks like me who don’t have several grand laying around to spend on an artist’s rendition of a Darth Vader helmet. More importantly, it was perfect for Russell’s Father’s Day gift. I snagged one immediately.

Although there were a ton of fantastic designs, I was surprised that NYC’s Suckadelic, artist/musician/entrepreneur Morgan Phillips, created the only diorama within the grouping. Of course, the concept was completely up his alley; Suckadelic’s work stems almost exclusively from sci-fi pop culture specific to Star Wars. Hand it to the guy: Phillips understands that without its Lucasfilms giants, the oxygen would totally be sucked out of my generation. And our adult wallets. Okay, and our principles, too, maybe.

Dunny Sucker

Having never been able to afford Suckadelic’s art schtuffs before — largely because they always have sold out within nanoseconds — I was psyched when I got the chance to nab one of these bootlegged bad boys this afternoon. Yeah, that’s a Dunny Sucklord. You’re seeing straight, alright. “Made in Chinatown NYC.” How many toys these days can wear that badge?

If you’d like one of your own, check it. Chances are, though, you’ll be coveting mine. These productions are generally limited to runs of next-to-nothing.

It’s not a Vader Project helmet, but, hey, the little guy’s wearing his own variant. Maybe one day I’ll find out I’m a long-lost Kuwaiti princess and will be able to afford the VP diorama for Sucklord’s display. Until then, I’ll keep busy stalking Suckadelic’s Microsexuals, his Original Villain Network, the photosteam on Flickr, keeping score with Paul Budnitz, and trying to convince the tween Bella that she needs to listen to more of this on her iPod. Seriously, this Morgan Phillips guy? He’s got a hand in every kind of honey jar you can imagine.

But today, I leave you with this brand spanking new first installment of Toy Lords in Chinatown: Episode One, guest-starring Sucklord himself.

May the Force…hurry up and arrive in the mail.