Midsummer's day.

Some people celebrate midsummer with parties and bonfires, interesting food and family gathering. We celebrate midsummer with a four day long fest, the Grassroots Festival at our fairgrounds. We celebrate community--with pre-Roots events (a wonderful concert with gumbo at the Rongo this year!), discussions, projects and the close review of the schedule of events by the regulars to pencil in their auditory path of the four days. The tribe comes into town, lining the roads with cars--from Wednesday before the festival through Sunday...and even stragglers until mid week the week following the fest. The non approved vendors set up by the grocery store to sell wide brimmed straw hats, tie dyed anything, and iced cream. Parking becomes a way that the locals, the high school and other non-profits can make a little money to offset the eighth grade trip or personal projects. The gigantic stack outs, the "wall of beer" is found at any grocery store or gas station near the fairgrounds. The air throbs with sound all night and day. Rob and Alex are heavily partaking of the festival, while I work on projects, read and savor the midsummery time. Here we are...the top of the year and often the hottest week of the year--with longer, and colder days happening from this week on. It is the week of raspberries and onions, spinach and the promise of tomatoes and corn.

Alex is home for the festival and is actively delighting in everything from his work, his friends, his new sense of what he can do, what he can accomplish, what he is able to change and affect. He is ready to be in his final year of school. He is at the right level of "baking". Rob has been full bore at the festival from the prebuild of the new bathroom building to the music and full days of friends, visiting and dancing. I delight that he enjoys this so much.

I have a new PT, Ms. Jessie who is, with her gentle, long hands...is whaling on this new ankle...and though I am crippled after her kind ministrations, am getting more mobility, more bending, more ability and interestingly, less pain, after her hard work. Jim has gone on to Duke/UNC for a fellowship and post-graduate work in physical therapy. So, though Gentleman Jim has moved on, I have a treasure in Jessie. Twice a week, no  less.

Happy Birthday #1 Q. Cassetti, 2015 Adobe Illustrator

Happy Birthday #1
Q. Cassetti, 2015
Adobe Illustrator

I am starting a body of work called "Happy Birthday". I found that I was creating some pictures around Happy Birthday, so I figured I would "let it out" a bit...to see where this could go with the little machines and various forms of transportation that seems to be popping up just in my work. So, you will see more of these just to spice up the summer..and to get the gears going for me. It has been a long spell of staleness--and I have to begin to move the needle as I am bereft of not having a topic to think and stew over. There are cakes, and candy, and international traditions here. if anything, I can learn something, and we can see if a card or two evolve. If anything, the pursuit of greasy noses, colorful heads, Brazilian lollypops, pinatas,  or candles burning all day long, sugar roses and "party hats"might yield some fun images. Plus the idea that time is moving is interesting too.

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"   Dr. Seuss

I have been inking a ton of apples these days--inspired by midcentury modern. Apples, pears, slices, seed stars, textures...and they have been applied to a logotype for the Finger Lakes Cider Alliance. There have been some cute offerings emphasizing Alliance, emphasizing cider, emphasizing Finger Lakes. Let's see what they go for....I am hoping no Finger Lakes Wiggly worms...as it has no currency outside of the area...but hey. Additionally, I have posted some of  my logotypes to this page and will add as I go (there are a ton more, but this gets you going). I think a page of labels might be great too. Now now, but soon.


Common Threads

The Green Man 2, Q. Cassetti, 2011 pen and inkGrassroots was a different event for me this year. Grassroots was a highly social few days mixed in with a little dancing, a lot of listening, and laughter. normally it has been long days of non-stop listening, hot and furious amongst the hoards of the great unwashed ( true in both counts). There is some charm to that, but oddly, I have discovered that I am not a shirtless “bro” looking for as much cold, cheap, beer (for you bro aficionados , read “natties”). I am not looking for a hookup on the dance floor or to spend the weekend ” in the bushes”(as a mom mentioned that her child spent the festival there). I leave that to my son Alex to fulfill that role.

Grassroots was this year about community and about the musical DNA that Trumansburg and Ithaca have ingrained in it’s culture. We live in a small area where live music on a very high level can be heard nightly for free or a nominal charge. These are professional musicians with conservatory training, and some self taught but in the tradition of the area, decided early that music was central to their being…and started street performing in their teens. Some make their livings being musicians, while many others have day jobs in libraries, schools, moving companies, food concerns bringing that right brain viewpoint to the everyday as well. This is the thread of music, from the people and their ethos to the actual art performed.

I am honored to have gotten to know some of the most vibrant musical brains in the area, and am charged up by their focus and commitment to music as the spine of their lives, the spur to live and continue to grow that I am questing for as are others of our tribe. It is so curious to quiz people about their backgrounds, their training, their lives as musicians and performers. It has made me better understand the artistic “thing” that moves us all forward— the quest for inspiration, the strength of solo work and for some, collaboration; the timing and sequence, the need to get the work out and seek insight and and reception. Regardless of the channel of the arts— whether it be visual or auditory— these are some common threads we share.

GrassRoots 2011: Day One

Happiness Parade 2010, Q. CassettiHOTTEST this week. It was 81 getting my feet on the floor this morning and was shooting to 85 before getting to my desk. The predictions are right.  101 in the  last hour (for my drop off of the team).But, it is a beautiful, clear sky so despite the heat, at least its pretty. I am one wilted leaf.

Erich and Nigel are out for the next few days, so I am manning the fort in front of a rather impressively named fan, the Cyclone (not).

Today is Christmas in Trumansburg. It is Grassroots Day One! Jacob was up early to help his brother take tickets and give folks their wristbands. Kitty and Rob took some time off. Alex was  getting prepped—cups, bandanas, money, the right shoes. Thankfully it isnt going to rain with the heat. Another thing not to have to drag to the fairgrounds is good. The Sheriffs were in place with their lights flashing first thing in the morning along with closing Rabbit Run entirely.

The wall of beer is no longer…but chunked into little stacks that one can easily scale. Shur Save always made this mountain of beer by the meat cases to do a little suggestive selling to the Grassroots audience, but now that they have become so fabulous with new meat cases, there wasn’t any thinking around the annual spectacle of the Wall of Beer. Sadness. However, there is hope the Kinney Pharmacy or the Byrne Dairy will pick up the Wall of Beer gauntlet and continue this tradition.

However, it all looks good with more parking than ever thanks to our school doing parking as a fundraiser along with the local stores.

GrassRoots Virginia Key-Miami is going to happen this February. I helped the team create a poster and handbill last week, which thanks to Bargain Basement Printing we should have tomorrow. No rush fees…and all within 7 business days. Rob is thinking out some strategies around raising some money and building awareness. I posed the need for a Kickstarter project to get a little eary capital before going for advertising etc. etc.

I need to go find my dreamcatcher.


Nosmo King, Q. Cassetti, 2010 (a No Smoking sign from Grassroots)Hot summer day. We were up and going to get Kitty to her job and Alex to practice with his friends. Jacob and I did a little shopping. Rob hungout and then went to the Fairgrounds in anticipation of the big week ahead in prep for GrassRoots, our little holiday here in Trumansburg. The bright yellow dance tent was erected yesterday with many of the ancillary tents and structures arriving today. The volunteers are gathering. Gimme Coffee is looking more like a clubhouse than just a coffeehouse and the buzz begins. I have threatened to do a photoshoot of all the walls of beer that will be erected by Tuesday. The Walls of Beer are an architectural feature that happen here…and are to be admired as they dwindle over the course of the weekend along with every ice cube in the county.

My stuff came for the Art Barn. I ordered two big pix (a skull and a big mouth of hell illo from my moment with the rapture) along with a portrait of Jeb Puryear that hopefully they will let me show. I sent to the ever fabulous and very impressive, Picture Salon, who never, ever disappoint!  Big is Better re my work. Big is bold and on our red walls here at the Headquarters, the black and white JUMPS. I am having ideas about physically painting these big black and whites? What do you think? Could be cool if I use a sheer acrylic so I do not need to worry about perfection with the painting….and let the big bold black lines do the work. Just a thought. Need to get a new topic to work with. Thinking of surfacing the wild Pennsylvania German book of folk medicine. Just thinking.

Got a lot done and out yesterday from the big client work to a teeshirt finalized for Wide Awake to getting our Luckystone holiday card out to the printer. I am feeling a bit proud as I think I have licked the file issues with my cheap cheap printer (BargainBasementPrinting.com) and am no  longer spending hours resaving files to have them spit back out at me. Great! Brilliant red envelopes winging their way here. Holiday will be stuffed and labelled by Labor Day so we can roll into the Fall without that extra detail hanging over us. You know what happens…come November when one should feel like doing this stuff, the big crush happens with our clients and so, the pressure is on in the world of work and other…making things not cool. Doing this stuff early creates a very smug me, but someone that is a bit more pleasant to be around in November/December.

Big trip to the store today. I have bags of chicken marinating and a mess of things for our two boys to eat (jeez louise, they can eat!). Next Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to the tribe that is working here (Erich, Nigel, me, Mandy, Tucker, Kitty , Alex and Jacob) we will have Jacobs band and roadies here as they are recording an album. So plan on lunch for 20. No kidding. I can hear the culinary vacuum cleaner running. Whirrrrrrrr. All things that can be eaten will be sucked down—everything else, we will  need to tie down! ….But I delight in it…and the interesting brains that are attached to the masticating jaws.

I am listening to the jump up and praise tune, “The Great I AM” by Donnie McClurkin. Love it. AMEN.

A summer moment

Monarda, Q. Cassetti, 2011Cool this morning. The full moon illuminated the night such that morning segued without much fanfare. We had a peaceful evening at the lake talking about fashion and how one transitions their look. Kitty is all over this with interest both from Jacob and Alex. The weekend stretches in front of us— with a pickup from Sweet Land, maybe some raspberry picking and grocery shopping. Some may start on GrassRoots projects, I may party with my pens. Summer full bore.

I am musing over my friends at the Hartford Art School and where they are this week. For those new students, they are dying. The dream project is pushing them all out of their corners, their safe zones, to a place of challenging discomfort. This clever punishment is devised by some pretty amazing educators to get folks off their illustration tookies and into the fray. It is hard work but accomplishes the creation of a class group, shoves everyone to accept change and personal growth, and gives everyone a common day one. But ooh. Ouch right now.

Then there are the confident second year students. They have time with the program. They have friends. They have work. They think they are on track for their thesis. The world is theirs. School is one fat slice of wonderful.

Then there are the third years. They have been dragged through a keyhole backwards. The thesis, the papers, the illustration, the travel, the ancillary papers have all added up. These students want to savor the last crumbs from the slice of wonderful but are distracted with all the to dos to finish. It is a complex time of trying to grab it all,  and yet not being able to really embrace it the way you could during the summer of the second years. It is a bittersweet time during the first week. The second week for me was ” get me out of here…!” It is a tremendous thing, these MFA students are doing for themselves. They are opening themselves up to change, to evolve, to self discovery, to learning. Nothing wrong with that!

Tonight, Amelia and Leah, my friends are singing with Mary Lorson to open for EmmyLou Harris at Greek Peak. This was a spur of the moment thing and I am  so excited for them to get this exposure and chance to sing to a new and different audience. Very cool.

The GrassRoots machine is beginning to whirrrr. Projects are beginning. Tents are arriving. The buzz is in the air.  More later.

to a "T"

Redraw of the Farmers Market Weathervane, inspired by Durand Van Doren’s workBeautiful weather here. The Farmers Market Building moved yesterday from the fairgrounds to the Market Site. We got shots of Durand’s weathervane, and I asked him if I could generate a flat illustration from his work to make a shirt/graphic from. Here is my shot of the thing from his metal illustration. It was kind of cool as I took Rob’s photo of the weathervane against the sky, translated it via photoshop to a high contrast black and white image. I selected the darks and created a workpath that I imported to illustrator to work on. Cool. I think this will be converted into white on black for a teeshirt to give to the guys that worked on the creation of the bandstand during Grassroots. Need to price that one out. Alex’s shirts turned out nicely and inexpensively.

I was given next year’s Hangar’s productions (shhhh) and need to start mulling over what the images need to be for the posters/advertising etc. I would love to have this all in hand by the end of October/first of November. It would really give us the jump on getting in front of this for next year. I also committed to doing the graphics for next year’s Ithaca Triathlon. I didnt do this year as it was getting a bit tedious, so the break gives me a bit fresher look at the design/illustration problem. We will see. That too, has a near and dear expectation too.

Speaking of local projects, look what just arrived today! A tee for the Pourhouse! So, get yourself down toTburg’s very own funspot and get a shirt (guys or gals) to show your civic support. Limited edition.

Someone has posted a request for a Hangar Poster to frame. I am thinking that there might be something in having this stuff early to send out for prints. Also, the new thinking is the $2. gumball art thought. Which is, that people have no problem plunking down a buck or two for a button, a sticker, or a tattoo. They do not even need to think about it. NO problem whatsoever. So, what if I were to create a cool point of purchase, hippie display that gives the person a choice of buttons, stickers, postcards, tattoos…at a good price with the price getting better and better as one nears $10. and $20 a shot. This would be put in places that Q. has relationships with (Grassroots, The Hangar, a gallery, chez Camp, or any of the restaurants etc that I do gratis work for). Build the local brand in a very local way. Adding value  and allowing the individual to take a little bit (bitte ein bit) of Q home with them…priming the pump (?) for an incremental build of sales. That’s today’s thinking.

Just started reading The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. Delicious summer readling! 

One more

from 07/25/2010Phew. Its over. Grassroots was wonderful this year with music and friends, and new friends, and music, and dance and delicious food, and big ideas to keep this small head whirring. But too much of a good thing is too much.

I walked over yesterday a bit after noon to find that the clouds and drizzle had cleared and we were to have a perfect blue sky afternoon. Heard the Chokers. Perfect show. A lot of nice new twists to the music, and happier band members made for good music and happy karma for those of us who know a few. We heard Hee Haw Nightmare, didnt love, but the crowd did. Toivo, as Rob said “went electric” with children running in circles and people waltzing and dancing happily in the afternoon. Preston and Keith Frank played the Dance Tent for the Tea Dance segment with the crowd happily dancing and not totally overwhelmed by the heat (like Friday when many of us wanted to lie down and faint from the humidity).

We got home on the early side after just enough and I surfaced that I wanted a scooter, a vespa to be specific. Rob surprisingly perked up about that (and Indian one please as the design was frozen mid seventies with the ferring and design I love). Now the question is which color and could I get vinyl cut to put bumble bees all over it?

I also am going to make a piece of art starting with the new weathervane on our new Tburg bandstand as reference. I think something solid and one color might be a nice thing to have to output on canvas and donate to the events I donate things to, and to create some tees (from my new cheap resource) to give to the men and women who built the bandstand as a thank you for their hard work, determination and wit to make something so outstanding for our little town. We are so so lucky to have such a committed group of people give and give and give to us, to Grassroots, to the general wonder and quality of life I hope none of us take this spirit of giving for granted. My belief in everyone giving a little bit (an hour a week at least) to your closest in community will yield in the Catherine Wheel tradition of bringing back energy to not only yourself but others is constantly proven in this small place of perfection we call home. And the wheel keeps turning and turning and turning.

The puzzle, challenge and amazing opportunity is thinking about the possibilities of what’s next?

Must go now to pick up my stuff at the art barn. Sold buttons and postcards with low expections. Lets see if I am happily delighted?

Link to Sunday’s pix on Flickr>>

Pictures to the left include (at top): Charlotte Senders, actress extrodinaire and cool Tburger, (next row left to right) Peter H., Meryl Young, Rob Cassetti, (Third Row down) The Chicken Chokers performing, (Fourth Row Down) Timmie Dietrich talking to me, (Bottom photo) camping in the center of the racetrack.


Snippets from Grassroots: 07.23.2010, Q. Cassetti, 2010It was wet in the air and hot, and still. Nothing moved except the papers to curl into themselves. None of the puddles dried up. And even in the tents, my glasses fogged up. It was a humidifier all day combined with the amazing Preston Frank and thousands of steaming topless bodies, the sights and heightened smells added to the flavor of Grassroots. Heat was also in the music. So, worth it all the way.

Preston Frank in a big tent with a very appreciative audience was a shot in the arm. Hypercharged Zydeco. We danced a bit until my face was streaming and we needed water. It was great hearing Preston do some of my favorite Boozoo Chavis songs…albeit he did not sing my favorite, “You will look like a Monkey when you get old” (a loving tune about his WIFE).

After that, we heard Mountainheart, an amazing string band that segued into rock and roll covers and back out again, seamlessly. The crowd was electric—so as you can see from the top picture, the band had a throughly good time as well. They have tremendous presence and worked very much as an organic group, one instrument, with all the various musicians handing off to the other either instrumentally or vocally. They also loved the audience, and the audience loved them right back.

We hung out with some old friends and then heard the end of the Sim Redmond Band at the Grandstand. G oodness, the level of production is really up, with the lighting and stage dressing at a far higher, far less shaggy approach that  it was a tremendous show with Sim and group as tight and good as ever.

On the way out, we stopped at the dance tent and were delighted with Jsan and the Analog Sons. High energy, driving reggae, great show, great horns and an amazing keyboardist who we see pop up locally.

We got home around midnight. Alex around 3 a.m. and Kitty spent the night. Another day starts. We will swim the vast Cayuga and feed the cats before going back for more music. The buttons are selling at the Art Barn. I have found my price point. Ideas are hatching as we speak.

Friday: Grassroots week

Zydeco Trail Riders, Main Street, Trumansburg, Q. Cassetti, 2010To the left are the Zydeco Trail Riders. They wanted their picture snapped after their fun performance Wednesday night at the Rongo. So obliged. To see more of the Trail Rider photos>> There is a workable one in there. They were very cute and chatty (as you can see) with Sally laughing and making the boys laugh along with her. They were great, high spirited and fun. Wednesday night was fun with dining and dancing with Kitty and Laura shaking their wild thing like the Drama Club regulars they are.. Rob and Bruce saw Keith Frank on the Commons and the All American Hell Drivers late at Barangus.

Friday at Grassroots (an edited collection of images from yesterday’s fun at Flickr)>>

Grassroots opened to a bluesky wonderful day. I went to the festival around two with Rob and Alex and was presented to our tent, chairs and little encampment surrounded by lots of people I already knew. I wandered over to the Art Barn to take my little things to sell (buttons, stickers, tattoos). I made up two little cigar boxes with nice labels on them for the stuff and put the buttons (as groups) on ribbons.

Then, Rob and I wandered over to see what was happening in the dance tent to find Mac Benford and crew playing stellar old time music. Mac is sort of the gran ddaddy  to the local old time music scene and he and they were def. on their game. Peter was there (designating that this was the place to be) complete with his brand new antique electric tricycle complete with cooler and a yellow fringed awning, prominently visual and the making, for me, of what Grassroots is. Small Town, Community, and the Church of Whats Happening Now. The cloggers were there along with our wonderful Professor Margery, Zydeco dancer to the stars. We wandered over to the new Cabaret Hall to hear Pat Burke, and then back to the  Mac and company.

Top: The Grady Girls, Bottom left, Harley Campbell and Mac Benford, Bottom right top: art barn sign, bottom right bottom, Eric AcetoI volunteered to work at the Art Barn as they needed extra coverage and am happy I did. The people loved the work and it was interesting to take money for my stuff and hear what they said about why that button or sticker. Instant feedback. I am seriously thinking of seeing if I can do a tent and do a “Hodge Podge Lodge” or “Q Brand” for the event. I think it would go…shirts etc. This is different than the Art Trail and for the same investment of time and effort, along with an understanding of what the local market wants to pay for stuff, seems doable. I want to sell penny candy too. There is too much easy stuff out there to do.  It is fascinating because there is a ton of interest in how I do my work along with a different respect for the work being printed on canvas versus framed with glass and mats. Seems more real/more accessible I think. My brain is whirring.

I was enchanted with the Grady Girls, sisters and cousins playing traditional Irish reels, jigs and waltzes along with family members from parents and aunts to little step dancing girls leaping and kicking to their hearts delight. The Girls are lovely in fresh cotton sundresses and the requisite cowboy boots, tight in their music and openly loving being part of this whirl they create. Rob is hopeful to get them for the Saint Patrick’s Day 2300˚—which would be terrific.

Djug Django was sublime with the poetic Eric Aceto leading the music with his violin sound bringing pathos and sweetness to a really amazing group of musicians. I have to say, each of the performances from Hip Hop (GunPoets), to Irish (Grady Girls), to Old Time (Mac Benford) to County/Rockabilly Swing (Kelley and the Cowboys)—everything we heard was top shelf excellent. The smaller groups put the “Big Name” (Merle Haggard) to shame in their ernest professionalism and high quality performances. What an honor to have these artists come to our little Tburg….(and many hail from here!).

It promises thunder today. I do not know how I feel about that and the mud. Time will tell.

Monkeys on the Brain.

Musical Knights, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink.Sorry for the delay. I thought I would get to a blog posting yesterday…but, thinking is not doing. So, please forgive me.

Sunday was filled with getting people places and then having a moment to swim and in my case finish the picture to the left. Lubki inspired, three musicians on a horse riding to who knows where. That’s it, plain and simple. I have a rooster to celebrate tomorrow that takes the Lubki idea once step further which is to hand draw the main lines and then scan it into photoshop (b+w at 600 dpi). Then I exported a workpath from photoshop into illustrator and filled it…giving me nice fat objects to work into. From that I have developed (and continue to do so) a series of tapered brushes (art and pattern brushes) that I use to make up the pattern and texture I have to restrain myself from doing. However, it comes up with a very interesting and energetic effect that I think I am on to something. You can judge for yourself tomorrow.

Speaking of Lubki, hear me out on this one. Just to set the stage, Lubok or Lubki (plural) is a Russian illustration style that depicts Russian folk tales and mythology (as one of the channels of how the work is carved up). Okay. Point two, I love that wild work that the Russian artist did with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings etc. Right?

I love popular culture, the wierder the better. And, to take that out a bit further, that becomes, to some degree, another type of current mythology storytelling that we, and the New York Post seem to glom onto. So, with that in mind, I am thinking of doing a few lubok illustrations around “The Tales of Travis, a Connecticut Monkey”. Remember Travis? The chardonnay swilling, lawnmower driving chimp who seemed to be game for anything? Xanax? Sleeping in beds? Working the television? Hot tub soaking? Plant watering? Teeth Brushing? Wearing clothes? Car Driving?  Being a child to a lonely woman who needed a special friend. Travis was for me, one of the Red Rose Tea Monkeys come to life! And HE LIVED IN CONNECTICUT! Not the forests? Not the zoos? No. Suburbia. Bliss! Now, play that through the Russian Folklore lens…and you get the idea. Fun! Unfortunately the Travis story ends sadly…which I do not think I will touch…but the description of this chimp and his owner is enough to make a few pictures to test the waters.

Grassroots in in full swing. Rob and Alex have been wielding hammers while Kitty was pressganged into helping decorate the new Cabaret Hall. Surprisingly, everyone is happy and very engaged. Rob just took two of my pieces down for the Art Barn (my beehive valentine/big, and the Forever Valentine (smaller) as we think that might make someone happy. They are for sale— and we will see if anyone comes to the table on them . I doubt it as they are priced to replace the printing and a little more but the Grassrootsers are not there to buy art. They are there to buy CDs, iced tea and eat. But we will see. You never know who might be needing to decorate their tents?

Beautful clear day. Hope the trend continues.

Salad Days

The Fellows Derring-Do and Good Fighters Too is just an illustration of a popular “open” wrestling match in which the winner gets a prize: two soft-boiled eggs. Such matches often took place during the celebrations of Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) and Semik. New cat illustration up in the Atelier “Lubki Inspired” section. Not great illo but inspiring. I built it using the blob brush and building individual brushes in illustrator. With all the antics trying to do a Lubki Cat with all the texture that is dug into those pictures, it really gave me a better shot at looking at artistic brushes versus pattern brushes (which make borders and corners and the like). These artistic brushes really have got the calligrapher in me excited…and learning how to freehand draw the vectors versus point and drag which is my safe go to…is great.

However, learning to make and use these tapered brushes (on both ends) and seeing what happens when the splines/ paths get longer or shorter, and the  power of these brushes to save time and, when thought out, present something that is still “handmade” in look and feel. I am doing to do a few roosters or chickens to accompany the big cats before I try a few silly people pictures. I am going to draw the lines in my book, maybe do the complete rough in ink, and embellish the drawing with these tapered and textured brushes. Too, too, cool. The other thing I keep doing which takes time, but is worth it, is converting the brushes to paths and merging them all together as a single layer of color. This technique should be interesting in the next go round of the work for the Hangar as the images may be more hand drawn next season. Maybe. the vector images really did work this season. And big! You know how I feel about large scale vector work!

Everyone went out with friends last night but me. I came up to the breezy lake and sat on the porch and did something novel—I streamed “play now” movies on R’s iPad which was amazing. It was so fast, no hiccups, good overall. I watched two indy movies, one in the mode of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” only it was Jewish/Muslim and the other, a documentary called “Jesus Camp”—startling and yet, believable. It was really nice. The fridge decided to die again…so there wasnt much fun with that.

This morning, Kit and I went up to Sauders for semolina (read, more spinach and feta pizzas), bulgar wheat (tabouli) and other odds and ends including my favorite present—full sized gummy fried eggs and full sized gummy chicken feet. Who wouldnt be thrilled with that sort of gift. This afternoon is a dish to pass at the “Annual Mammal Roast” extravaganza. I have salads to make (tabouli and a minted watermelon salad) which should be fun. Alex is working. Kitty is engaged with friends. Bruce, Rob and I will have dinner at the Pourhouse to hear the “Rockin’ Steady” Family Band (Reidys and Stockings). Such a creative group…it will be amazing. 

Grassroots is four days and counting. The tents are being put up. The portapotties are dotting the landscape. The portable stage has arrived. There are some campers on the site. Great excitement in the Burg over this holiday of sorts for the community. They are building the wall of beer. Nuf said.

Society of Illustrators 50th Annual Show

The Chicken Chokers at Grassroots got into the Society of Illustrators (truly, the best of the best when it comes to illustration) show in the advertising section which delights me to no end as it was a job done out of love for local culture, an admiration for the musicians and the tremendous spirit and verve they have and an opportunity, yet again, to do a chicken illustration. Three for three. And it gets into a fairly tough category to boot. Now, let's see who else is in? I heard Scott Bakal got in too! Yeah Scott!

The Awards Gala is March 28th, 2008 and exhibition from March 29- April 26. Artwork is to be picked up April 28th -May 30th, 2008.


Flickr links to two sets:


Chicken Chokers at Grassroots and Felicia's Atomic Lounge:

feeling bored? These may amuse you for a little while.

A Sunday at Grassroots

Grassroots for some is a flat out, no holds barred party that lasts from Monday morning the week prior to the event through Monday morning, the day after the event. It is solid...and hard work...but for these folks, this is IT. THE experience. I have never been in this category. Not a party gal. There is a style for everyone--and our technique is to hear the music we want without getting nuts about missing stuff, visit with our friends from Corning, Elmira, Tburg and Ithaca, and partake of the fare that is offered--and leave when we feel tired....or sometimes just before we feel tired. And we can weather the whole experience and enjoy it. So, in that vein, we woke up a little later, ate breakfast, sat outside and then got the gumption to get going....just in time for the Chicken Chokers.

The Chokers were excellent. Really on their game. Tight--and the crowd LOVED them...which feed a great performance. It was "who do I know that I would never expect to see at Grassroots" for me as streams of people I like and love found me and we had a little catch up along with sandwiching in some picture taking as the tent was a beautiful venue for pix. It was great. There was a very hot and active clogging man in pressed tan trousers, tapping the whole time. Much of the Old Time Tburg locals were there to take in the show. It was really nice. Much too short.

We heard a bit of the Duks who were very good...and towards the end, a little bit of the Turtle Duks that folks were dancing up a storm to.

Found the buffalo bicycle. Here it is.

Visited with a whole bunch of people...and then it got late.
It wasn't hard to sleep.

All in all. Grassroots this year was one of the better ones. The weather, outside of the downpour on Thursday, was perfect--low humidity, no clouds, cool. The scheduling and programming putting the right people in the right venues was very well done. Though it felt like attendance was down, those that were there were in good spirits without the wild and shaggy thing that happens from about the middle of Saturday afternoon until the end of the weekend. It felt orderly and respectful...not tons of weaving and wavering teens and early twenties zoning out. They were there, but not en masse. And the musicians were all excellent and pushing their personal boundries a bit. We noticed that there was a lot more electronic influence in many of the groups we didn't expect this change. Interestingly good...

We will be buying tickets for next years Grassroots on Valentines Day 2008. Starting the saving...

Mark's encampment at Grassroots

Our friend Mark and his wife Heidi always add a little extra to their Grassroots experience. This year is no exception. They gather with their friends with pristine vintage campers and spend the festival eating, drinking and partaking of the music and scene. This year, Mark brought his brand new, handmade Vardo, a wooden gypsy wagon complete with cut glass, tiny wood stove, and beautiful woodwork...with a bright white canvas cover giving the interior warm diffused light. What a treat.

He also offered up a selection of spanish tapas (from Tienda)and interesting conversation to enliven the early evening. What a rich slice--friends, music and crispy almonds and manchengo, chorizo and almond crisps sparkling with anise. What a gift he has given us.

Grassroots recap day 3

Grassroots is rolling. Perfect day, perfect temperatures and wonderful music yesterday. We heard the Horseflies--with new cuts from their new, soon-to-be released CD--very percussive and more electric than I can remember. Judy Hyman is truly a star--with her focus and intelligence shining through with every bow stroke. I hadn't really put it together that the banjo uke, bass, and accordian are really part of the percussion aspect of the group. The crowd was appropriately responsive. Richie was sublime...as usual. And the big surprise was Will from Electric Wilberland and his assistance on the board to make the electric/ synthesized sounds happen so well. High sun, bright, and lots of folks shaking their booties.

Eilen Jewel was stellar(photo of her above). She has a terrific band that goes from zero to sixty-- ramping up the beat and music in a very serious way. She has a lovely clear voice that can keep up with the driving music. We throughly enjoyed her as promised by Nonesuch's Tracy Craig for weeks before. We were appropriately prepped...and were surprised at how great she was.
The happiness parade was happy, I guess. Bunch of people drumming...and all doing their own thing.There was plenty of face paint and ill fitting costumes. There were dream catchers and huge puppets and lots of smiling faces. For those whe pursue this sort of bliss, bliss it was. Speaking of doing your own thing and pursuing your bliss, the next post is one such family.

There was a guy with a buffalo bike...and then, the horse bike. I couldnt resist giving you a peek.

Today is Chicken Chokers play in the Dance Tent. Donna the Buffalo closes the show. A whole lot of other good stuff sandwiched in. More pictures for tomorrow.

Grassroots day 3

Its been a blur. Chokers played a magic evening on Wednesday at the Pourhouse. The energy was great, lots of friends and families of friends...with great music. It began to heat up and when the group took a break, everyone went outside for a little breather and the music began again with it all going to the street...Thursday we got caught in a drencher with everyone under tents trying to dry in between sessions to having to run out.Richie Sterns and the Henry Brothers were amazing. It was beautiful in the dance tent with the chinese lanterns glowing. I hope tonight to get some images for reference as there are some pretty beautiful details of Grasroots ready to make pictures from.

In between waiting time for the finals for baseball...(which was over at 11 p.m.) we dropped by Felicias Atomic Lounge and saw the Chokers...They were great. Felicia's alley is this narrow space painted electric blue with a long wooden bench running down one side and aluminum tables and chairs down the other. We took some snapshots which I enclose a few in this posting. The band was great...very relaxed with a smallish audience who enjoyed the whole scene.

It is a flawless, cloudless day. Low humidity. High potential. Def. sunscreen, hat and positive attitude. Lots to hear and see.


Learning lessons

Took all the big pictures up to Syracuse for the thesis show/presentation. This was very fascinating and enlightening. I would have liked to have had this information last summer before the ramp up of the show. First off, there is a wonderful and really smart exhibit designer and preparator who is a tremendous resource we should have met and been encouraged to tap as he is a wealth of options, ideas and resources for how to output/present/ show our work whether it be framed, mounted on gatorboard or a traditional painting (which, to no surprise to me, is all thisprogram is geared to). Andrew had ideas about packing, travelling your work, work protection etc. He also knows all sorts of things such as how to think of editions, how to proceed with archival vs. non-archival etc. My ears were open. My pen was flying.

Chris Wofford, The Trumansblogger "Wonders about Drum Circles" as a little bow to Grassroots today.

They are all here in force. Jamming Rabbit Run.Getting ready for the Nation to get going. Grassroots Nation.

Chokers tonight at the Pourhouse. Baseball practice for the tournament. Posters getting finalized.

More later>>