Saturday, September 25, 2010
In Los Angeles for a week, photographing in preparation for an exhibition next year.

Scott McFarland, Quality Photo Lab, 1300 Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, 2008
Friday, September 24, 2010
Strange and Wonderful Confiscated Plants Find Home at L.A. Zoo
Thursday, September 23, 2010

L., studying a red rock tower way up high: "Ever been there?" "Never, want to go?"

An hour later: perched on the peak's tiny spine. The khaki-colored desert spread below. A huge hawk riding a nearby updraft. A nest the size of a bathtub on a neighboring spire.

Climbing as a metaphor for relationship: constant surprise; the sense of your own possibility.

Happy 2nd., L.

xo CJB

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Flood in progress through the bookstore ceiling:

NOT CHUCK D. [holding self-burned CD]: Hey man! Are you into local independent hip-hop?

CJB: Not right now I'm not.

NCD: Man, you should really get that [GESTURING AT WATERFALL] under control!

To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation: an older pupil whose accomplishments and style I emulated.

2. To compete with successfully; approach or attain equality with.


Desert Plants - A Curator's Introduction to the Huntington Desert Garden, by Gary Lyons

Anyone in town this Thursday (September 21st) should drop into CSA Space for our fifth (!!!) anniversary show, a very tightly edited group of photographs by Mike Grill, organized by Steven Tong and I. Mike's pictures were also our first exhibition, way back in September 2005, a show originally planned for Steven and Sally Lee's old 69 Pender space, which was purchased, weeks before the show, by a certain condo flogger. Steve and Sally found themselves out on their ear. Steve and I felt bad for Mike, who had put considerable time and effort into printing pictures and building frames, and now had no exhibition. I relayed this tale of woe to Adam Harrison over mojitos. "You know there's a space above your bookstore for rent, right?" Several hours later we placed a drunken series of cellphone calls to Steven to inform him that he was now the co-director and co-curator of an as-yet unnamed independent art exhibition space. I think the results have been more than satisfactory for all concerned.
Monday, September 20, 2010

Metropolitan (9), 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
On Metropolitan

Google's car-mounted cameras are really getting good; I'm amazed by the clarity of some of the recent Street Views, which has allowed me to remotely examine sites I never previously would have considered photographing. The source panoramas are full of strange blurs and mismatched edges, which I have deliberately retained. There are also minor differences between the thumbnails and the full-frame images (eg., #8, below), which I have left alone; they're probably best considered alternate takes, and equal in my judgment.

I still get occasional emails about my not showing these, or the pictures that appear here and over at that other website. I'm not opposed to exhibition, and, over the last two or two and a half years, have made sporadic attempts to get my photographs up on the walls of some local venues. But Vancouver and Toronto curators have not been very receptive to "just pictures." So, early next year, it looks like I'll be renting a display space, fixing it up, making a selection of photographs, writing a "curatorial text" and probably sitting behind the gallery desk, too. I had not really anticipated a 100% DIY practice at the beginning, but modern art's model of the artist emulating different kinds of cultural producers (Dan Graham as businessman; Walker Evans as "commissioning editor"; Ed Ruscha as publisher; Don Judd as engineer) provides a framework for much of what I'm doing. And as I look back on a string of comic book conventions; shoestring "independent nonprofit art display spaces"; used bookstores & etc. it occurs to me that this model, while more or less totally incomprehensible from the outside and about as far removed from the Belkin-Catriona-CAG model as it is possible to get in one lifetime, is faithful to my own experience and temperament. And art is always best when it singlemindedly (recklessly?) pursues its own path, without concession or apology.

Off to Los Angeles and San Diego in a week to make some more pictures.
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Metropolitan (8), 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Waste My Time, Please

STAY-AT-HOME DAD WEARING SANDALS: I've got a hard one for you!

CJB: Yeeeeees?

SAHDWS: Oh, you won't have it!

CJB: Try me.

SAHDWS: John Masters.

CJB: It's true. Not if I'm doing my job properly.

SAHDWS: What about...Harry Crews.

CJB: Down the large format fiction aisle about three quarters of the way; it's alphabetical from the far end.

SAHDWS: No, I'm asking if you've ever heard of him. I don't want to buy any books!

CJB: Rosalind Krauss.


CJB: Ever heard of her?


CJB: M. John Harrison.

SAHDWS: What are you doing?

CJB: Making a point. Thanks for playing.

Tangerine Cat, 2009-10

"He came into our family a year ago and won our hearts in seconds. He purred like no other cat. He loved us. Something hit him or he fell a week ago and it messed up his insides and we had to have him put to sleep today. Even though he was in a lot of pain he climbed onto us and purred as loud as he could until it was time for his shot.

You wouldn't think you could cry so hard for an animal you've only known for a year but you can.

I think he had a good year with us. It was fun watching him grow. I only wish we could have had him longer and watched him get old.

Goodbye Tangerine. Tangeriney weenie. Weeny cat. I loved you. We all did."

There are lots of pictures of the tiny orange cat with the absurdly loud motor on my brother Dru's Flickr page, but this one best represents the kitten (later, full-grown cat) that I remember from my occasional visits to the far end of the Fraser Valley. A miniature tiger weaving his way through the back garden among the cabbages and invasive morning glory vines, or bolting across the scrappy lawn covered in fallen plums to pounce on the family's feline matriarch, Blasterella, or lurking perched on top of the beehive-shaped black plastic compost bin, or the wrecked brick barbecue.

In the night I dreamed I was burying Rose T. Cat in a little satin-lined cardboard box below the high tide line at Whytecliff Park. Woke to cool air, a siren somewhere, light rain, the lights of the city visible, reflected, on the low clouds.

Always wanting to remember, to not say goodbye.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kinda handsome. Also $190USD, and consequently not being purchased any time soon.

"True vintage fit for flattering appearance, not the current-era sloppy, relaxed fit with droopy shoulder seams."
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Oldschool Fantasy Continent Map, by Dru

"Hand drawn on 22" x 34" hex paper and coloured using pencil crayons, c. 1990."

Vancouver-based artist Rebecca Belmore, Canada's 2005 Venice representative, is being sued by her former commercial dealer, Toronto's Pari Nadimi.

According to a press release authored by Glenn Alteen, "The legal battle began over 4 years ago, when Belmore, after deciding to leave the Pari Nadimi Gallery, requested the return of her artworks, related documentation and the payment (and an accounting) for artwork sold by the dealer. These basic, legal rights are still being violated. Belmore recognizes the importance of the case for herself and others: 'If Pari Nadimi is successful in this claim against me, it would mean no artist would ever be free to choose to leave. Artists would be slaves to their galleries. This is a horrible precedent.'"

I have enormous respect for Belmore, and was very pleased when she agreed to show a new installation piece at CSA Space in September 2008. I will immediately be making a donation to Belmore's legal defense fund, and urge all of you in the readership to do likewise. Nadimi's shameful treatment of Belmore cannot be allowed to stand. Artists are not resources, like cattle herds or stands of corn, that commercial art dealers can automatically "cultivate" for a guaranteed return. Nor is it an artist's job to indemnify their dealer for the dealer's inability to sell their art, or for a general lack of business savvy. Even the suggestion of such an arrangement is repulsive to me as an art writer, photographer, gallery co-owner, collector and businessman.

Restaurant Ghost, 2010

"'There are days when 15 or 20 people pass by and might not even notice I’m here,' he said, as several pedestrians seemed to do just that. 'A decade ago, if you saw someone covering their ear and talking to themselves, you would have thought they were just nuts. Today that’s the norm. It’s as if they are totally consumed by their own world and have no room for the outside. It is complete immersion in self to the exclusion of all else. That has to have an impact on the rest of our lives.'"
Monday, September 13, 2010

Los Angeles community and demonstration gardens.

The Flower District.

1300 North Cahuenga Boulevard.

San Marino.




Friday, September 10, 2010
Waste My Time, Please

SKETCHY THIEF: Hey there! I'm just gonna leave my bag here while I browse, OK?

CJB: You've got to be fucking kidding me.

ST: Hey man, no need for language!

CJB: Dude, my girlfriend caught you stealing books last night. She threw you out, right in front of me. Why are you back here?

ST: She, uh, she did?

CJB: Right before nine. True crime. Two paperbacks.

ST: I didn't steal them!

CJB: The books were down your fucking pants.

ST: But what I'm saying, guy, is that I didn't steal them. [PAUSE] She made me put them back!

(ST then proposed to pay $5 for the not-quite stolen books -- our price: approx $14.95 -- and was promptly ejected)
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Today's soundtrack: Lee Fields and The Expressions, These Moments
Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Last night's dinner: organic chicken with thyme and smoked paprika, fresh corn pudding. My riff on a recipe from Christina's Cookbook (Christina Orchid, Sasquatch, 2004), which I found remaindered down the road at Book Warehouse for $7.99. This little book is a revelation, full of high-flavor recipes made from only five or six ingredients, plus Orchid's idiosynctatic authorial voice, which keeps digressing from the recipes to childhood visits to her grandparents' Eastern Washington ranch; to explosives; to Russian thugs hunting wild sturgeon in Californian drainage ditches; to her eighty-year-old mother the botanist; to Douglas fir gelato; and, finally, to the mechanics of operating a small, French-influenced regional restaurant out of an old second floor apartment above a gas station on a tiny San Juan island. One of the very best cookbooks I have ever read.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Sookie Sookie (instrumental by backup band; Don Covay, 1965)/ Heighty Hi (all three Dukes sing; Lee Michaels, 1969)/ Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing (McDonald & Russell sing; Fontella Bass & Bobby McGuire, 1965)/ Shakedown Street (Fagen sings; Grateful Dead, 1978)/ You Never Can Tell (Boz sings; Chuck Berry, 1964)/ I Got News for You (McDonald sings; Ray Charles, 1961)/ Green Flower Street (Fagen, 1982)/ Miss Sun (Scaggs, 1981)/ I Keep Forgettin’ (McDonald, Doobie Brothers, 1982)/ Rock Steady (Carolyn Leonhart sings, Aretha Franklin 1971)/ King Harvest (Fagen sings, The Band, 1969) Rag Mama Rag (Scaggs sings, The Band, 1969) The Shape I’m In (McDonald sings, The Band, 1970)/ Love TKO (Scaggs sings, Teddy Pendergrass, 1980)/ I Love the Life I Live (Russell sings, Muddy Waters, 1957) Cadillac Walk (Scaggs sings, Mink Deville, 1977)/ What a Fool Believes (McDonald, Doobie Brothers, 1978)/ I.G.Y. (Fagen, 1982)/ Lowdown (Scaggs, 1976)/ Takin' It to the Streets (McDonald and Russell, Doobie Brothers, 1976) ENCORE Reelin' in the Years (Fagen, Steely Dan, 1973)/ Them Changes (McDonald sings, Buddy Miles, 1970)
Thursday, September 02, 2010
"We were totally independent and have been ever since."

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