Adventures in Dismaland

{Forewarning: cross post from my other site Superficially Iconic which I am also reviving}

Some may wonder why people gravitate towards certain corners of art.

Growing up in a small suburb of Illinois, I stuck out so much. Weird colored hair and crazy pattern clothing combinations do that. But so does the rest going on in the core of my being. I just happened to match a bit on the outside.

My dad was the conventional son of a visionary. She, however, rode the line. It created the juxtaposition I live in with my modern outlooks and lifestyle. Therein lies the deep rooted nature of understanding within.

Dad may never understand art to the level my grandmother and I do, but, in his own ways, he gets it. Dad just gets a different side of the glass. He has moments where he will draw outside of the lines but he really does like and value the lines. This is probably evident by his love of comic books but only choosing to read superhero books. Dad’s mantra has been, “If I wanted to think about real life, I would.”

Dad is a disconnector. He dabbles in art to escape reality. It’s a natural thing and beautiful in its own right.

I’m a polar opposite to my father in so many ways with my love of art. I have an adoration and respect for his world of function and practicality but… like to jump off cliffs at times.

For me, the line between art and reality should be a blur. It should speak to you. It should make you think.

That said, the link below is not for everyone. I know several members of society that would look away or talk poorly of this pocket of art. Despite this, I’m still associated with several. I love their words- art or reality or spaces that blur the lines.

Controversy shouldn’t have to be a controversy. Revolutions shouldn’t have to be revolutions. Even if they are both or neither at the same time. But I must say.. it does take the bold to do either one. Blurring the lines and keeping things black and white is an art in itself. And that ain’t bad.

That said, here’s an introduction to the Bemusement of Banksy with his latest pop up installation: Dismaland. Take a peek if ye dare into the superficially iconic beauty of dystopian art and reality compounded into one.

For more info, see the other press pieces:

The Guardian’s coverage

Channel 4’s coverage

Uk Reuter’s coverage

E3 2010: A week to remember… and forget?

Traffic jams and riots.  A center filled with flash, glitzy signs… and hordes of nerds.

Welcome to E3 2010: the Lakers are in game 7 edition.

I watched the downpour of exclamations for the latest and greatest toys of the moment on various twitter and facebook feeds.  I checked up on the news on some of my favorite (perhaps biased) news outlets.

Strangely enough, with the exception of that first day, I really didn’t care as much about weather I’d be able to attend or not.  The thrill of E3 just wasn’t what it used to be.

I thought about it and wondered- what changed?  At one time I was so determined to go to as many events as I could.  Nothing would satiate my palate.  Events that I was told I couldn’t get into?  I didn’t take no for an answer.  I’m bad with no’s sometimes.  This- one of the most major conferences of the year would have been a given that I wouldn’t accept that.   Was it that I had just become numb from one too many?  I mean, I have been to quite a few…

I swear I'm not an addict...

There are a few conferences a year which rank up there in high importance to me: professionally and personally.  Last year I was told I would not get into 2 of them: E3 and E4all only to somehow find a way.  I honestly didn’t expect it this time.  It just… well sort of found me.  It is a happenstance that has been occurring quite a bit these past few months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I was able to attend- albeit only a day and for miscellaneous parties on time in between work and well, more work.  It was more than enough.

This year is the first in many that I was not attending as Press.  Instead, it was a covert operation made possible by one fellow Culver City crusader as I played the part as someone… in town from Turtle Beach.

Walking the halls of the Staple Center this year was a window into my past.  I barely work in gaming nor have I been penning as a journey from the sidelines currently.  I have been swallowed whole by a different world and popped right back again.

It’s the wee hours of the morning at my last day of contract work for a toy company with a small MMO in beta- and in the silence of the office, I’m left to think about the proceeding days off and into the world of my past.

It seems that this time of year is an intersection.  This year, however more than others.  But we’ll dig deeper into why later.

People from all over the globe come together to this spot.  Like many other conferences, the attendees share a passion.  Fundamentally this is one that has been something that holds a very special place in my heart.  It is one of two most prominent forms of entertainment for me since childhood: video games and comic books.

I arrived late.  A meeting with a client after a very full night out to a couple of parties the night prior had me on a bit of a later start that I had planned.  Add to that the extra chaotic parking fubar of a big city full to the brim.

I got lost in the city.  I don’t know how that’s possible considering I’ve been here nearly 3 years but it happened.  It has happened quite a bit since I’ve lived here but given that it’s a huge convention center it’s a bit of a stretch even for me.

I’d gotten lost the night prior as well.  After being accompanied to find my car by one who claimed to know the way but apparently had too many free drinks at the Cheap Ass Gamer after party at the Golden Gopher I ended up in an area not my home.  I am positive it was not from the amount I imbibed.  I have been cutting back considerably and only had a couple of beers despite it being open bar.  It was peculiar.  This month has been full of moments like these:  of journeys and arrivals to destinations unknown.

My cohort greeted me.   I would assume this alter ego as I walked the halls with the rest of the entourage.  I met up with my best friends from Fantastic Forum.  But my day was mostly spent with the crew of Angry Bananas.

The boys showed me the ropes of what had been missed of the con so far.  Luchadores. Epic Mickey. Move. The new dance game.  The Comic game.  Marvel vs. Capcom.

And as much fun as I had while walking around, I still found myself somewhere else.

E3 has been a week where I will see people and get messages from my past.  Failed lovers.  Secret affairs.  Near romances.  Friends from past lives.  Of people known digitally from cross country and halfway around the globe.

It is a time where I remember where I have been.  Of the collection of people both good and bad I have had in my life.  How they’ve effected me.  How they have colored the canvas.

I was only there one day but it was enough.

To the lovers I have had in the past.  To my former coworkers.  To the people I have met along the way…

Thank you.

This hasn’t been the easiest time for me.  It’s a test.  I am breakable.  But I am capable of being repaired.  Time and time again.

Time and time will pass again.

And while not all of my intersections this year brought up the best of memories, I feel stronger because of them.

I’m looking forward with anticipation of the unknown… of next year and the next conference and the other miscellaneous destinations that I arrive and exit along the way.

Time Outs and Outings: Betties & Greasers Makeovers and Night on the Town

Things got a little out of hand.  It’s been a… ride of a week.  If I had a time machine I would erase that one moment.. that one silly text that really.

I hadn’t been classy.

As it would turn out though, it was perfect timing.  Friday nights silly joking around text escalated into another defcon level.  It was time for a bit of a time out.  Hopefully it’s not a game over.  Only time will tell though.

Saturday was the much anticipated Betties and Greasers makeover and night on the town.  A stunning gal named miss Stephanie hosted a girls night of pampering and pinup morphing, dinner, and then drinks.  There were a limited amount of spots as it was hosted in her own home and all done by her and two other women.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I called that I would be arriving a little bit late to the festivities.  I wanted to finish some things before I headed out.  I arrived to come in and see a sea of women, cupcakes, cocktails, makeup, and hair supplies.  It was something out of a 50s dream.

Bite size

Bite size

“I’m not going to be drinking tonight” I told the hostess.

“That’s ok you can drink some Coke with me.  I don’t drink.”

You didn’t need to drink with this group.  It was absolutely wonderful.

My mother is a cosmotician and never taught me all about this stuff.  I saw the world of Steel Magnolias and looked upon my grandmother’s old photos with a bit of envy.

I grew up a tomboy.  I knew next to nothing about these stories of womanhood before coming to California and being taught them by my “shallow” cousins. Even still, I know very little about it.

Stephanie prepares hair

Stephanie prepares hair

A sea of women all pampering eachother.  Talking about boys, and well none of anyone else’s business.  It was great fun and wholesome for the most part.  I sipped soy milk in a red cup as others drank champagne, water, coke, and other assorted bevies.

Stephanie and Jennifer handled the  hair duty.  Libby took care of everyone’s makeup.  The rest of us chattered and painted eachother’s nails.

Libby does Roubis makeup

Libby does Roubi's makeup

The night continued post makeup and hair to dinner at C & O Cucina to meet some of the boy yelpers.

It’s a little Italian dinner off Washington Boulevard near Marina Del Rey.  The space was accomodating and appetizers of garlic knots flowed as we waited with great anticipation for the remainder of the entourage to arrive so we could finally get the rest of the evening started.

Time is beauty and it took a little bit more for the hostess and the rest of the girls to get there.  Slowly but surely they all trickled in.

I sipped my glass of water with lemon as our party sipped sangrias, stella and wine.

“Jena don’t you want to have a beer or something?’ one of the guys asked me.

“No thank you my ass is plenty big enough.  I don’t need a drink to have fun.”

We ate gnocchi, tortellini, triangle ravoli.  It wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t the worst.  A photo opportunity came about for all of the girls to get together near the end of dinner.

Group shot

Group shot

As you can tell, I felt a little bit awkward in a way.  To be honest, despite the makeover, I still felt a little out of place.  All of the girls are so beautiful.  They really didn’t need all of the makeup to make them so.  It’s something that I am personally figuring out the reasons as to why I worry so much.  Ah burlesque may help with that.  But that’s another story.

The night would continue on to a rockabilly style bar.  I would arrive late however, due to randomly running into a friend as we were leaving the restaurant.

I had a cozy little talk with my friends- chatting about various real life issues and about the museum festivities that I’d missed due to being out with the group.  I finished up and then met the girls a bit later.

At the bar, the party was in full swing.  I came prepared with my “bag of tricks” and there were quite a few surprises.  Many libations were had by many.  I sipped my water.

All in all, the night ended splendidly.  It was an evening of swell dames, keen but chicken rat pack boys, and much smiles and laughter.

And while I’m wishing that it hadn’t started out the way it did… and perhaps… well…

You really should have been there.  I’m sure you would have had a great time.

Letter from a gentle man

Want to know if a man really cares about you?  It’s one that I wouldn’t recommend…

It’s the little things.

Maybe you can catch what I’m referring to by looking at the picture and video below.

These were taken before and after a long night out drinking at the Orange County Yelp Elite ‘Stache Bash.

Letter from a gentleman, the night after.

Letter from a gentleman, the night after.

I am smitten and truly honored by this one dear sweet Mr.  Here’s hoping he sticks around for awhile.  I think he just might.  But I guess only time will tell.  I’m going to enjoy savor last bit of it.

Cheers and Happy Friday.

Letting go: Material Immaterial

This weekend was phenomenal.  It was also quite frightening for a few hours.

I tend to over worry about things sometimes.  I’ve been working my fingers to the brim.  I’ve been toiling hours away at an idea… at many ideas… at pushing to making those things happening and preparing for some major presentations to debut them.

I am a perfectionist.  I want to do everything just right.  I am hesitant to announce something unless I have already invested considerable time and effort into it.

As some of you may know, I am midst work on a documentary project entiteled Muse for Hire. The name is shared by an umbrella of projects, including my previously unnamed copy writing services (inquire within) as well as a web series project I am working on that came about as the documentary started filming.

But that’s another story.

My camcorder has become an integral extension of me.  The amount of time and devotion I have to the projects and thus the attachment to one small Flip Mino that I purchased for the project, is quite… it’s one material possession I would be upset if it was lost.

This weekend that nearly happened.

So what do you do when something you have such an attachment to disappears?  You freak of course.  I was no different.

Friday night started off a bit rough.  I’d been working on some other projects and not gotten much sleep.  Little things got to me a bit more than usual.  This time it was some comments made out of context in reference to a certain Mr that I am…

“She made some good points though.  I’m a little afraid of how I’m potentially presenting myself here.  I mean, what if she’s right?”

“Calm down.  I’ve seen you two together.  I don’t know the guy but it’s likely nothing and you know it.  What are you referring to exactly though?  Explain.” Mo replied in attempt to get me to calm down a little.

“I’m sure its not but… well, what are you doing tonight?  Let’s go see a movie.  It’d give a better idea of what I mean.”

“I’m not sure I can.  I’m supposed to go out tonight later.”

“Please…”

“Get dressed and come by work.  We can figure out the details and catch an early show.”

I got dressed and headed out.  We talked outside his work for awhile before deciding to get some coffee at a local Starbucks.

Between the caffeine and conversation, I quickly calmed down.  I wasn’t super stressed about it before but sitting at home racking my brain only added to it’s nonsense- and potentially true statements.  Only time will tell.  Assumptions and worrying about it will only get me wrinkles anyway, and I’ll pass on the botox treatments thank you very much.

Conversation changed over to a friend of mine that I thought Mo might like.  I texted her to ask what she was up to.  She was at a bar near me.  I dropped Mo off and went to my place to change into more suitable attire.  He picked me up a little bit later.

“Thank you.  Have a good night.” I received as a reply to a text I’d sent hours prior to him.  Ah the wonders of two super busy people something something. It was something so tiny but it made me glow and calm down even more so.

We arrived at quarter after eleven.  It was her birthday and she was with a group of people.  We headed up to the upstairs portion of the bar.  There are couches along the wall and the perimeter.  We sat down at some with the party.  Such a wonderful group of great people… new friends and old.

The guys were too chicken to approach me.  I cared nothing about them.  I felt the heat of stares and caught people blushing and looking away.  I felt unbelievably confident that night.  I approached men and brought them to the group.  I made sure my best friend wasn’t bored.  We had a great time and I behaved.  It was quite…

At one point my purse was knocked off the couch accidentally.  I’d thought that I had everything when I picked it up, but we didn’t dive into the cushions nor reach very far back behind or under them.  ( You can probably see where this is going.)

The club closed down and we were ushered out.  We talked outside the club.  At this point I realize that something is a bit off.  I’m not sure where my camcorder is.  I dumped my purse out onto the sidewalk.  It wasn’t there.

I freaked.  I can’t afford a new camcorder right now.  But it was more than just that.  While there was quite a bit on there that I hadn’t been able to take off from Comic Con just yet, there was one clip that was pretty important to me.  You see, the thing about filming a documentary is that while you may have a ton of content as you are you are working on it, there are just some moments where you know when they happen that they will be in the finished product.  This was one of them.

I was upset when we left that night.  I knew that I had to be there in the morning to try and get it back.  I was hoping for good karmic retribution.  I knew that there was a chance it might not happen.

And then I thought about it more.

Even after I freaked and worried… I remembered a conversation that bid me to do some reflection I had a long time ago.

“There are some things that are meant to be legendary.”

While the moment I filmed recently will forever be permeated in my mind, regardless if it worked out or not (please let it work though), regardless if I had gotten the camcorder back or not, it didn’t change that simple fact: I’m thankful that it happened because it was legendary.

I accepted that if the camcorder did not return to me that it was simply not meant to be- the moment being in the documentary that is.

We, as a culture of Americans, build up this attachment to silly possessions so easily.  While they may be founded in passion or emotional connection, the possession itself is relatively worthless.  It’s just “great junk” essentially.

And while, yes I did get my camcorder back the next day, I feel amazing.  I know now that I can let go of everything and be alright.  Material stuff is fun to have.  It fuels my art.  But even if I don’t have it, it doesn’t change what I am at the end of the day in the simplest terms: an artist.

So here’s to letting go and letting life happen a bit more each day.  Material is immaterial.

I’m thankful I learned these lessons.  But I will also admit, that it does make me glow a bit knowing that that piece was supposed to be in this documentary project.  It is one moment captured in film in shadows and lights that’s…  well see for yourself, but you have to pay attention…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Comic-Con

As some of you may or may not know, I actually semi “hitchhiked” my way to Comic Con this year.   I found it only suiting that I write a “survival” guide on my adventure to Comic/Video Game/Movieland last weekend.  Here’s a snippet in video blog format where I interviewed con goer Aaron and he let me look at some of the amazing sketches he was able to get from the artists there.

For a full, more in depth list of my tips and things learned while at the Con, you can look over at the article I wrote for Girls Entertainment Network.  I hope you enjoy them both as much as I… had the fun of learning some of them the hard way.

Postal Project in found art

To Mr Cheng

To Mr Cheng

I’ve always been a little off.  This idea has been something that has actually done by my family at one point, but for a reason that wasn’t art.

The picture seen here is from Swedish Artist Eric Ericson.  He spent many years sending objects through the mail and these are a few of them.  I have every intention of copying it.  My mother does not know it yet, but she is about to get sent random miscellaneous objects from me.  So if anyone reading finds something quirky that they want me to mail (within reason), I will send it to my mother.  And when I say within reason, I’m talking stuff that she will likely just laugh at as opposed to something I will get a lecture about.  As it is I’m sure she’s going to mail me a list to therapists in the area and tell me to seek help after this.

I called my grandmother this morning and told her about it.  She is doing much better.  She told me she’d received the postcards I’d sent her and asked me about my weekend.  She was more curious about the things I was doing.  She told me many tales about her life.  We talked a little bit about the hospital and then I mentioned this.

My friend the dark prince said he will help me in the experiment if I want to send him things.  The project is for art as well as humor.

My grandmother reminded me of the time my grandfather did this.  He is far from being an artist though.

In a box somewhere is the muffler from my dad’s old Seabring convertible.  My dad was moving back to California from IL and wanted to try and get a trailer hitch on the back.  Grandpa’s brilliant idea was to saw off the muffler- which he did- take a permanent marker to it and some stamps and mail it to my dad’s new address in California.

It did indeed get there and has been a family joke for nearly 10 years now.

Seeing this post made me smile and so did my grandmother.  I told her I was going to send various objects to my mother and not tell her beforehand.  My grandmother didn’t help.  She actually encouraged the project.

“I found one of your shoes here.  Just one.  You should send it to him or your mother.” she said with a giggle.

“Oh really?  Which one?”

“Some black and white one.”

I told her some of the things I planned on sending my mother already.  Just miscellaneous crap that’s around the apartment that I really have no clue why it’s there.  I told my roommate to let me know what he finds while he’s cleaning to send to mom.

“I may be little but I’m odd.” I quoted Eddie Munster.

“I know.” he said and chuckled.

And now my postman is going to know too.  Yay!

Epilogue:  My grandmother thanked me for the cards I’ve sent.  I told her I will send her more.  She told me “Thank you for making me smile today.  Thank you for making me laugh and feel full of life again.”  I think this is the start of a beautiful morning.

Epilogue 2: I’m going to see if I can actually tape some of this but will need a partner in crime and would prefer not to do it at the post office near me as I’m there twice a week as it is already.  If you are interested in being said counterpart please send me an email to inquire about this position or I may just post it on Craigslist.