Thursday, June 30, 2011
Some Wit Writes

re: yesterday and today's musical choices.  "CJB's listening taste in three: Steely Dan Bejar"

I'd see that show!
Meanwhile, on another continent...

Shaky Lars Von Trier camerawork; great sound.

A quick guide to the visual differences between Team Cat and a young Barred Owl, courtesy my pal Samantha.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
LA's Jonathan Gold visits two examples of cutting-edge cuisine and comes to the same conclusion I have, solely based on my perusal of the restaurants' respective cookbooks.
"[H]e didn't get into collecting through any kind of backstage pass acquired in art school or through connections; he just began looking and talking to people, and he found dealers and artists to be completely open to his curiosity, his desire to barter, and his requests to pay in small amounts on a timeline."

(Proof, as if any was really required, that the Groupon Art Show's myth of the unapproachable and financially inaccessible art world is just that)

Countdown to Steely Dan

Walter Becker's dry voice crackling over the phone from NYC, where rehearsals for this year's world tour are just wrapping up.  Tour kicks off Saturday night in Seattle (6th row, dead center) and continues Sunday in Portland (11th row, just slightly left-of-center).

("Don't get arrested," said L. before she left. "Don't go backstage, don't touch anyone or try to touch anyone.  Don't throw clothing on the stage, don't try to pass 'gifts' to the ushers or the road crew.")

One of the great joys in my life is being able to see my favorite living band, all thirteen members strong, on stage, churning out their trademark sui generis jazz-rock-soul-cum Manciniesque "easy listening" sound.  A rigorous aesthetic, full of great beauty and humor, and one which, when I first discovered it back in university, I just naturally assumed that I'd never be able to hear live, due to the group having disbanded many years before.  And then the New York Rock and Soul Revue took off, and there were some warm-up dates, and a few small-venue shows, and, finally, a new album, just as good as anything which had ever gone before...


Steely Dan, What a Shame About Me (live in LA)

Steely Dan, Jack of Speed (live in LA)

Steely Dan, Do It Again (live in NYC)

Steely Dan, Godwhacker (live in 2003, somewhere out in the world)
Monday, June 27, 2011
...& speaking of pasta: tonight's dinner

Where I'm eating lunch on Friday.  Handmade pasta counter, lunch only, hidden inside a gelato shop in a less-than-heavily trafficked corner of downtown Seattle?  HELLS YA.  Paging Mr. Gold....
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Lyrics by Lee Fields
Music by Lee Fields & The Expressions

Lovely ladies.
Beautiful ladies.
You're so fine, so fine.
Come summertime.
I just love to see you walk. Girls I love your style
I love to hear you talk. Girls you make me smile.
And when you pass me by, you're like candy to my eyes.

You're sugar. You're spice and everything nice.
A man is incomplete without a lady in his life.
You can take a bad day and make it turn out right.
You can take a blind soul and make him see the light.
You can take a broken heart and make it new again.
Or you can break his heart and make him less than a man.
You can make a man feel like a king.

Let me hear you say ladies.
Beautiful ladies.
Lovely ladies.
You're so fine, so fine.
Come summertime.
When I saw you walkin' by, girl you blew my mind.
The way you look and smile at me, girl I saw a sign.
And when you pass me by, you're like candy to my eyes.

You're sugar. You're spice and everything nice.
A man is incomplete without a lady in his life.
You can take a bad day and make it turn out right.
You can take a blind soul and make him see the light.
You can take a broken heart and make it new again.
Or you can break his heart and make him less than a man.
You can take a man and make him feel like a king.
What a man wants only you could ever bring.

Ladies. Beautiful ladies.

Hey girl what's your name? Oh wow you look so nice, I know your man is satisfied.
And young lady what's your name? Oh wow! I know your man is pleased all the way down to his knees.
And what's your name? Tell me I know your man is worried, about where you are tonight, eh?

Well ladies, all you ladies, all over the world, I want you to help me sing this.
Here we go!

Ladies. Beautiful ladies. Ohhh ladies. All of you ladies!
Short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones!
Beautiful ladies.
Lovely ladies. You look so good in the summertime. Ladies.
Lovely ladies. I said you look so good in the summertime. Ladies!
Friday, June 24, 2011

Bookstore Movers (via Shelf Awareness)

"I never thought I'd be the guy who got up at 4:30 a.m.--I used to read until the sun came up. I recently met up with friends from high school. I could tell they were surprised that the bookworm was a manual laborer who traipses around with a dresser on his back. But there was a certain amount of pride. There were doctors, lawyers, college professors, but I think I was the only small-business owner, the only one not working in someone else's system, the only one who had created something out of nothing."
Thursday, June 23, 2011

CJB vs. Corporate Book Behemoth.  Once more into the breach...

"To speak bluntly, the Cheaper Shows is symptomatic of the current ideological makeup of the 'post-political' mentality of art production itself. The rise of the Cheaper Show as a cultural phenomena makes for pure and wholesome bedfellows between the rise of the post-ideological 'creative class' and the logic of Rize. The 'creative class,' [...] thirsts for a passive environment founded on a 'managed diversity,' hyper-fetishism, anti-elitism, an anti-intellectual environment, positioned, most notably, at a distance from critique. Instead of an exhibition that offers itself up to the public to critical debate, the works are subjected to a flurry of activity and consumption. The public camp-out hours before, and then at the messianic hour of reckoning, the doors are opened. At that moment, each camper races against one another to beat-out bidders on individual works.

The Cheaper Show’s capitalist free-for-all is eerily reminiscent of the apparatus that fuels the real-estate market in Vancouver. Condominiums, including those which will eventually sit on the same site, are pitched as though tossed onto the market in a fire sale. And like the products available at the Cheaper Show, the condos are picked up by new young-urban-professionals camping out hours before each opening (often paying people to camp out in their place, if the developers themselves do not pay for such a line to give the appearance of value and hype). The Cheaper Show and Rize – and there are more than a few tenuous strands connecting the two – together attempt to re-create urban life as an uncorrupted, civilized ideal, encouraging the passivity of a public increasingly accustomed to 'paying for a quality experience.'"
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Careful now, watch your step, in you go!

Clubtread group vs. Mount Judge Howay, one of the most logistically difficult climbs in the Coast Range.  Amazing pictures.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today's soundtrack: Gayngs, The Gaudy Side of Town

Printing for November.  Five more pictures out in the world.  (Fleetwood Ghost; La Cienega; Cosmopolitan Book Shop; Chocolate Factory Cactus Garden; Surveillance Tower & Palm Tree). Sizes vary, from 8" x 10" (Fleetwood) to 16" x 20" (Cosmopolitan; La Cienega). Editions of 2 + 1AP.  A couple of prints are already spoken for, but at least one of each remains.  If you think that you might like one, feel free to get in touch through the usual channels.  Prices (framed) range from $500-1500.  Proceeds benefit framing for November, a medium format camera with a digital back, and shooting in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and the Canadian Shield this fall.

Special thanks to LJH, Christopher Gaudet, and Tasha Brotherton, without whom I never would have found the courage.
Monday, June 20, 2011

Chef Thomas Keller, dropping science.  Further to a conversation last week: you build a business for the long term by paying attention to the phenomenal world, not to the who-moved-my-cheese crowd.

"This idea that we have, that we want to have the very best and pay the very least is something that is kind of ingrained in Americans. It's kind of a bizarre thought, right? I want the very best caviar you have but I want to pay the very least for it. So what does that do? So the guy who's selling you the caviar will get you the caviar that's the price that you want and tell you it's the very best. You're going to walk away and say I got the best caviar available and I paid this much for it. So your tastebuds are going to be associated with that and say, 'This is the best' when it's actually not. It doesn't actually have to do with the very best, it has to do with your perception of the very best because you paid what you wanted to pay. So when you talk about price with our producers, you open up that opportunity for negotiating the price and reducing the standards."


"[T]he standards that we live by and the idea that you have to come to work every day and do a better job than we did the day before. Just that one basic philosophy has continued to help us progress. It's the idea that you have to evolve. I see that with Grant [Achatz], Corey [Lee], Jonathan Benno.

The other idea is to have a really clean environment. So many restaurants we've all worked in, they're not up to the quality of sanitation that they should be. That's something that's been paramount for me, because at the end of the day no matter how great the food looks or tastes, if you get sick it's unacceptable. It's the basis of what we do, to be serving wholesome food. I don't care where you're working. That's something that's been very important to me. Whether they're chef de cuisine or own the restaurant, or they're going from being chef de partie to being chef de partie at another restaurant. Treat the restaurant like it's yours and one day it will be. I'm the perfect example of someone who treated it like it's mine. Wherever I worked, my little corner, I treated it like it was mine. And ultimately I had my own restaurant.

Collaboration, also. Having the ability to engage everyone in the restaurant so everyone has the opportunity to have an impact. We have so many intelligent individuals in our restaurant. Lots of them are the young ones, and to give them a voice is so important. Give them recognition, give them the opportunity to take ownership of what they're doing. To teach them how to be a chef today so that when they do go on, they're ready. That chef de partie, which is the second tier after commis, is really when we teach them how to be a chef, how to manage, how to order, how to write menus. All of those different things. Quality of ingredients. We teach them that. And as they grow with us, some of them leave as chef de parties and become chefs at smaller restaurants because of what we have given them. There are so many valuable things that I think they learn at the French Laundry. Not just because of me, but because of this culture that we have created there where everybody has the opportunity to make an impact.

I love seeing that a lot of these guys are closing their restaurants for vacation. When I was young and in New York City, there was always a section in the Times saying when all the great restaurants are closed for a week. And all of a sudden, that just disappeared. One year they didn't do that. And we do that too, we're closed 32 days a year, and everyone's paid. From the dishwasher all the way up. To give people a great working environment, giving them a life out of the kitchen — a five day workweek is very important. The idea of health insurance is very important. Giving a life balance, which didn't exist when I was young. When you took a vacation you had to quit. You worked at a restaurant for a year and a half, maybe two years and then you quit and you took your vacation.

But it's not something that was new or that I thought of. There's nothing new. We're dealing with the same things. People talk about creativity like they created it. There's no true creation. Everything that's been in the world has already been there. We've just been inspired to interpret it in a different way. You know? Tell me something that's new on earth. It's been in different forms, but you manipulate it. To me it's about awareness, you're aware of the world around you."
Friday, June 17, 2011
Good customer re: riot.  "We're in the living room watching TV.  TV anchor says, 'It's the Black Bloc.  It's the anarchists.'  And we're looking around like, 'No, everyone's here.'"

Metropolitan (34), 2011

These thumbnails are now big enough to convey a good sense of the larger works they represent.  Folks with 1920 x 1080 resolution or higher can click through to the full-frame versions.  (Unless your monitor resolution matches mine, the full frames will display wacky or erratic cropping, and shouldn't be relied upon).

In exhibition, the Metropolitans are presented on mass-produced, wall-mounted flat screen monitors, purchased from London Drugs or Best Buy.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Soundtrack for a picture
Saturday, June 11, 2011

A sales spiel after my own heart, & some excellent photography, too.
Friday, June 10, 2011


YVR Setlist (rough draft)

Cosmopolitan Book Shop, Los Angeles, CA, 2010
After Men Waiting, 2006, 2007
Coat Suspended From a Tree, 2008
Opuntia fiscus-indica, 2011
Metropolitan (33), 2011
Purity, 2011
Grid & Mirror, 2005
Surveillance Tower and Palm Tree, Livingston, CA, 2010
Object in a Driveway, 2007
Trash, 2011
Arroyo, 2011
Blind, 2010
Westward, 2010
Spare, 2009
One Hundred Famous Ghosts (9), 2006

Special guest post courtesy my friend Mick Bailey, Team 1040 Canucks live streaming internet radio on the deck

My Hometown Team
by Mick Bailey

Growing up in Montreal watching the likes of Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Guy Lafleur and the Canadiens seems a lifetime away for me. Walking the streets of Notre Dame de Grace with my grandmother, skating on outdoor rinks, all day snow shovelling sessions, and sweltering in the evening heat of Montreal summers seems more distant still. As Quebec struggled to find itself, success in hockey was one of the few constants. We loved the Montreal Canadiens because they gave us pride, and intangible joys that allowed us to rise above everyday existence and things mundane; these reasons that allowed us to feel a sense of unity, a sense of belonging in this universe.

In the late 70s my family moved to Vancouver. What a culture shock it was to me at the time. The ever present scent of towering conifers filled the air. Then there were the mountains, the ocean, and the rain. The rain, I would discover, is what defines this city. Ever present, sometimes oppressive, everyone knows it's coming. When it rains here it seems like the sun will never be seen again, but on the other hand when the sun shines here it can be hard to imagine it ever rains.

So it was at this time I discovered the Vancouver Canucks. In the early days they were a blue collar diversion, not blessed with a lot of success in a city that was, and in some ways still is, trying to find its way in the world. Very different from the city I grew up in, yet nevertheless unified by the love of hockey. It was, it seemed, that the fortunes of the team were destined to fail in the end. Just as the rain always returned, so the team was going to lose. I could not understand the lack of optimism, the inevitability and resignation I saw. Vancouver did not think it deserved success? Not really, it was just that the rain was going to return, the enveloping gloom.

In 1982, an unlikely band of heroes skated and banged their way to the Stanley Cup final, and the city rose to another level. I don't think for a minute anyone believed they were about to beat the vaunted  New York Islanders, but the whole run was like a month of sunshine. The city came out of its shell for awhile; as though it had discovered a new sense of consciousness, a new happiness. But the rains returned, and so did the sense of resignation. Until 1994, when an unlikely team rose to prominence and came back from a 3-1 deficit to take the New York Rangers to 7 games. The run galvanized the city in no uncertain terms. As for me, I now pledged myself to two hockey teams, and to one city. I was a Vancouverite, for all the good, for all the bad, I had grown up with this town, and with this team.

In the years that have passed Vancouver has come into its own, become more worldly. This town that is forged by the cold rains of November has changed, and the people are stepping forward, trying to establish themselves. Enter this year's edition of the Vancouver Canucks, fresh on the heels of the wonderful success of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Vancouver had come of age, and we had hosted, we had tasted, success. We had garnered the attention of the world, shown the planet what we could be at our best, and we had been proud of that.

So why the angst over the Vancouver Canucks losing two terrible games to tie the Stanley Cup final? Is there an anger, a sense of entitlement, as some have said? No, it is only the sense with which the city carries itself; the rains will return and the Canucks will fall. The truth is, though, that everything is possible. The truth is, the team will sacrifice all to win. The truth is, winning is not a guarantee, and yes, the rains will return, and yes, we will still love the game of hockey and the Vancouver Canucks. Why? Because life is worth nothing without dreams, love, loyalty and faith. It is because we want to smile at the person we pass on the street; it is because in November, as we wait, without umbrellas, for the rains to subside we will know "our boys" have done something special. Whatever happens, Vancouver, this is where we live, this is where we love, and remember, my friends, "This is what we live for!!!!"
Richard Shiff: "Usually I choose to employ the term 'technique' within this study, even where others might regard the term 'style' as more appropriate.  This preference for 'technique' is intended to indicate that the external appearance of a[n artwork], the 'style' that may result from the application of technical procedure, should be seen as 'made' rather than 'found' -- as the product of means sufficiently social to be imitated and appropriated by others, rather than the result of a singular and inborn manner."
Thursday, June 09, 2011

Metropolitan (33), 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Metropolitan (32), 2011

Kato Cat and his new balcony, early June.  Photo credit: L. and cellphone
Undisclosed Road, Bobcaygeon, Ontario
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Walter Benjamin: "The sight of immediate reality has become an orchid in the land of technology."
Friday, June 03, 2011
The instantaneous; the momentary; the apparently insignificant; the commonplace.
Thursday, June 02, 2011

Metropolitan (31), 2011

Metropolitan (30), 2011

I recently changed monitors.  The new one's resolution is 1920 x 1080.  As always, the Metropolitans are meant to be displayed full frame, but full-frame enlargement on smaller monitors may produce crops not reflecting my intention.  If in doubt, the thumbnails accurately represent the larger images' borders.


Conversations With Cezanne (Documents of 20th Century Art), ed. Michael Doran

Richard Shiff, Cezanne and the End of Impressionism

Matthew Simms, Cezanne's Watercolors: Between Drawing and Painting

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