SINCE I STARTED THIS BLOG we got Obama, computer-phones, and one less planet, Sarah saved a school, Johanna attained literacy, and I had Asian food for lunch at least 250 times. Five years is a fair bit in Internet Time, especially for a project that’s as loose and lazy as a tour diary. By a band that doesn’t actually perform.
We are known to tour, though. Sarah’s on an art retreat in Santa Fe, staying in a casita near the home of “Georgie O’Keith” as Jo calls her (which should be a Who song if it’s not). In a colder, less creative venture, I just got back from interviewing farmers in North Dakota about mobile apps, with unexpected detours into raccoon trapping and trade with Kazakhstan. Strange, complicated work, but the wardrobe fits me to a T.
When it’s not -10°, I’m surveying our new ‘hood. There are impressive vistas and ruins if you know where to look. In this depopulated swath between the Cities, transients and graffiti writers rule. Word is some of the industrial barrens may be cleared to build another brewery & tap room, which are to Minneapolis in 2013 what yoga studios were in 2004 and food trucks in 2009.
The attic’s transformation from cramped bat cave (literally) to airy loft workspace is complete. I have to hand it to Sarah, who pulled off a complicated set of requirements—air, electricity, walls, windows—using half a dozen different contractors, some she had to lean on hard. I did the finishing paint job. As I was not paid, she cut me some slack.
I had my own brief residence in Washington D.C. with old buddy Marc and fam. They’ve added a daughter, Vivian, since last I dropped in, who is not just adorable but highly conductive. They share a sweet, spacious rowhouse in a neighborhood called Columbia Heights, which I noted has a Pupuseria density of 3 per block.
D.C. always gives good art, but I got especially lucky this go-around with Ai Wei Wei at the Hirshhorn and Nam June Paik at the Smithsonian. Until I saw Ai’s work in person—vats of handpainted sunflower seeds, rooms full of reclaimed rebar from the Szechuan earthquake—I didn’t get how gorgeous (aside from lovely ideas) conceptual art can be. To paraphrase writer/calligrapher Job Wouters, Why fear beauty?
Nam June Paik is the patron saint of Obsolete Media Nerds (like me). This piece has an Information Age sheen, but most of the show is (de)constructed from TV sets and monitors made in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Made it out to Mount Vernon, the period-accurate estate of the Father of Our Country. FoOC and Martha had a nice spread (their slaves, less so). I enjoyed the hobby farm and the composting outhouse George invented that seats three at a time.
6/7 of the MakeSh!t Mini Golf Innovation Squad atop our hole in progress, which at this point is a 14′-wide plywood quesadilla. Can we make this thing playable by Memorial Day? We have man power and competing visions in abundance.
A crowd of Nassifs—my uncle, sister, grandmother, dad and aunt—sharing old family pictures on a recent visit to the Mother Land. On the right is my grandfather, Bernie, surrounded by his parents and 6 (!) older sisters. I’ve known several of my great-aunts and can barely fathom the smothering love that kid must have endured.
Here’s a drawing I did of a man who looks something like me crossed with a rodent. On the right, an unintentional visual rhyme, also the most popular picture I ever put on Instagram.
When not heralding the future of farm technology, I’ve been working with a local non-profit that among other things recycles mattresses down to the staples and springs. I toured their facility in Southeast Minneapolis where ex-cons and people in drug recovery disembowel beds (my role is less hands-on, thankfully). Meanwhile, I’m crushing out another endless winter out on some urban cross-country runs with Lucas. This is about as close as I get to catching that guy.
Jo’s earnestly tuneless Jackson 5 rendition, only a bit more recognizable when sung by 50 1st graders at once. Pardon the destroyed kitchen; we are barely civilized at the moment.