the empowering.

Last Sunday, aka Valentine’s Day, I attended “The Empowering,” curated by Danielle Scott, at 150 Bay St for an art lap or two before we continued the February holiday festivities. An “art lap” is when you do a lap around a gallery and look at the art. Context clues, people. Usually at least 2 laps are necessary to get a good feel for the show and I’m glad to report I got those reps IN.

It’s clear I had too much fun last weekend with Galentine’s/Valentine’s and the mental clarity I prefer to have when reflecting upon and writing about such things isn’t there, but I’d like to tell you a little bit about it because my overall memory of it is “woo!”

We had some cocktails at home before so the spirit of “woo!” was already high as we arrived, exited our Uber, and ascended the stairs.

I then did my best to tone down the “woo!” slightly because this was a solemn and thoughtful social justice exhibition and I needed to respect that. And there was some really great art which I will share with you now.

Old talks with New Icons : Man in Yellow Pants by Philip A. Robinson Jr
“Goddesses” by Anthony E. Boone on left. “Shopping Cart” by Mashell Black on right.

I stood and looked at this one for a long time because it’s large and there are a lot of different details.

“Trayvon Martin” by Ben F. Jones

It’s still so strange to see art or photos or any type of media with people wearing masks and realizing this is every day life now. To the extent that seeing folks WITHOUT masks is kind of jarring.

Black and white images on left by Sy Battle. Images on far right by Professor Ameerah Shabaaz-Bilal.
by Ruler Silkcity
by Orlando Cuevas

This eagle and toy soldiers really spoke to me. Because there’s an eagle and that’s a bird but also because I loved the colors. It looks like a sunset.

“Uprising” by Michael Endy

Of course this is my fav because birds. And also…BONES.

“Winged Victory” by Carol Quint

The Empowering is at 150 Bay St until March 21 and you can make an appointment to go on Saturday or Sunday between 1pm and 4pm via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-empowering-tickets-137705323329

Check it out!

jc women’s collaborative swap at xtina’s variety and vintage shop.

This past Saturday it was VERY COLD but it was also the day of the JC Women’s Collaborative swap at Xtina’s Variety and Vintage shop and I HAD TO GO.

I had never been to a clothing swap before and I’d honestly heard some scary stories. For some reason most of them involved “Brooklyn,” but it would be like “My friend took me to a swap in Brooklyn and it was a free for all!” Or, “I went to a swap in Brooklyn and everyone just GRABBED THINGS.”

To me it seemed like swaps were frightening because they included a competitive element and I wanted nothing to do with that. I’m not a competitive person and any kind of tense feelings really stress me out. I don’t want to FIGHT for things. It just seems like A LOT.

Anyway this swap WAS NOT LIKE THAT so don’t worry. It was great! It was very organized and didn’t feel like a race or a crazed collective grab for the best items or anything like that. It was all very civilized and fun.

Embarrassingly, I arrived 15 minutes early. I was ashamed. I didn’t intend to be that early and I felt like a nerd. Once again, I had walked way too fast and gotten very sweaty. One day I will learn my lesson but that day was not Saturday.

As I mentioned, IT WAS VERY COLD. LIKE VERY. Leading up to the swap Xtina had suggested that we wear layers, with a yoga pants/sports bra or tank layer at the bottom, so we could stay warm but also try on clothes over the bottom layer if we wanted. This was great advice because it worked out and I stayed warm.

COLD.

It’s very good to follow instructions, my friends.

Upon arrival we were given a wristband with a number on it and that indicated when it would be our turn to go upstairs to swap. (I was #2) (Be impressed.)

I’ve seen Deep Space Gallery and the store downstairs be set up a few different ways and it never stops impressing me with how versatile it is and the different ways they use the space. It’s just fun. There’s always something new to see.

While we waited for our turn to go upstairs to swap, DJs played music in the shop downstairs and we were invited to browse the shop and also the wares of some vendors that were in attendance – @cutpasteface, and @primcessart, and @talirose_art from @visioncoven

Again, there was so much stuff to look at. I really enjoy looking at stuff. A simple pleasure.

Soon enough it was time to go upstairs! The clothes were split up into racks by size, and there were tables organized by size for jeans and loungewear. Accessories were on a small table, and handbags were in a box.

We had 5 mins to choose 3 things and I suddenly got very excited so I didn’t take any pictures. I’m sorry, you’ll never know what the actual swap part actually looked like.

JK you can see some pics on Xtina’s Instagram, @xtina_moore. Calm down. Go look!

In the first round I got this BLUE TORY BURCH PURSE and I felt like I WON THE ENTIRE DAY. Like, this freakin freezing ass Saturday was MINE!

I MEAN LOOK AT IT!

After the first round we got back in line and went for the second round. This time we still had 5 mins but we could choose 5 items instead of 3. I was pumped because I got something in the second round that I had left behind in the first.

Despite not being a competitive person…I did feel like I was winning at this swap. I mean, NBD.

But I think everyone felt that way! It was a great and happy and positive experience. We all chatted in line and made new pals. We got excited when people picked one of the items we had dropped off. It was a nice feeling.

I came away from the swap with THE PURSE, a brand new with tags maxi dress from Anthropologie, a gold sequin top, a fun late 80s/early 90s looking cropped jacket with sparkly gold embroidery and velvet buttons, a basic black shift dress that is the SOFTEST jersey material, a tie-dyed Trader Joe’s T-shirt, and a couple more things. Those were my most favs.

I like the sequin/sparkly stuff best and there was actually a good amount of that there. I think because people only wear it for New Year’s Eve and then they’re done. But I like to wear sequins ALWAYS and you’re going to have to accept that THANKS.

So that was the swap! And they’re gonna have more! Follow JC Women’s Collaborative and Xtina on Instagram and they’ll keep you posted!

JC Women’s Collaborative also does in-person (socially distanced, when it’s nice) and Zoom meetups with guest speakers that are fun, informative, and thought-provoking. Their next Zoom meeting is on Feb 4 at 7pm and the topic is mental health, a v important topic! You can find more at @jcwomenscollaborative on Instagram.

And Xtina’s Variety and Vintage shop has a record sale event coming up this very weekend. On 1/30 1pm-5pm they’ll be selling records 4 for $1! I’m gonna go. If you like records maybe you should go too! I don’t know, I’m not your dad. They’re at 77 Cornelison Ave in Jersey City.

outlander gallery.

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of popping by the opening for Graff is a State of Mind at Outlander Gallery. I was PUMPED because it’s right down the street from me, at 126 Monticello. Monticello KEEPS. GETTING. BETTER, you guys. First, Last Place Winners came around, then Baonanas, and now Outlander Gallery!

Actually I don’t know if it’s even new or just new to me…Hold please, I’m gonna check the google machine.

Well, I didn’t really find definitive info, but it looks like they had a first show in September, according to when posts on their Instagram started. So let’s say it’s new!

Also, this event seems to have been more sponsored/created/curated by an outside force called JC 100’s Mural Co, with Outlander Gallery providing the venue. Love a collab! But I don’t know much about JC 100’s Mural Co either. Maybe I should have talked to people and asked questions like a real journalist.

Too bad I’m too awkward.

Too bad blogs aren’t journalism.

Moving on, let’s look at the art!

Oh wait, first, the caveat that comes with the art pics is, I don’t know if they had any of those little packet/catalog thingies with the prices and names of the artists, but I do know that I couldn’t find one. There also weren’t really any signs indicating the specific artist for each piece, but it could be that I’m blind. Additionally I am a professional LIKER of art but I am not an art PROFESSIONAL so I’m not so good at identifying the artist of a piece simply by its style.

So what I’m saying is, if you know who the artists are please let me know and I will credit them accordingly.

Yes, do my work FOR me, thx.

Really moving on, here comes the art.

These fangy guys were my favorite. My boyfriend said these are by @kidzero and I hope he didn’t just make that up. JK I checked his Instagram and there are fangy guys on there. Whew.

I like this one because it’s an NJ license plate. I believe the paintings above are by Distort (@distoart) (I believe it strongly, because it says “Distort” on the painting) and the license plate may be too.

Oh wait I guess I know this one too. These guys with their sleepy eyes crack me up, and the glass work is really pretty. They’re made by Keith VanPelt, co-founder of Deep Space Gallery. ANOTHER FAV PLACE OF MINE.

Guys perhaps I doubted myself unjustly, because I know who made this one too and it was Boone. I swear I didn’t set this up to play out this way. I just write as I go. Anyway I love the colors of this obviously. Boone has a whole apartment of beautiful, vibrant, exciting pieces like this and he was opening it up to visitors on Sundays in the fall! I went once quickly and meant to go back for a more in-depth exploration of his space but I never made it to another event. Hopefully he does it again when the weather is nice/the world comes alive again.

Here’s a grumpy looking dog. This is a dog and a style I enjoy because I’m obsessive with anything anthropomorphic. Give me more. I’ve seen more work similar to this guy around the town and it’s by Steven Cartoccio.

I love that this has Homer and rainbows. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Not quite sure what these are supposed to be and I feel really dumb for not getting it. Maybe condoms? They have a condom shape? I’m confused. I still like it because I feel like it means something…even though the meaning is unclear to me. And I love this style of old cartoon looking guys.

Keep in mind it’s hard for me to admit I don’t understand what something means so you’re welcome for being vulnerable in front of you. Now we’re true friends. Edit: These are candles. I’m an idiot.

This one I like because of the palm tree, a palm tree, a paaaalm treee…anyone? No? Okay.

That’s Outlander Gallery! And the Graff is a State of Mind show! It’s still going on until 2/1/21 so go check it out. Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

the gigantic miniature show 2020.

It’s back! The Gigantic Miniature Show at Deep Space Gallery!

This show is always exciting and fun because there is a TON of art from a TON of artists and it’s all over the place and kind of a free for all in the most beautiful and delightful way.

I’ve said this before but I love this show in particular because it features affordable pieces of art and allows anyone to be a collector, or get gifts for a collector pal because it’s so close to the holidays. I’m super into the concept of democratizing stuff and making it available to everyone. By “stuff” I mean literally everything. All the good things in life. Everyone deserves a little luxury and a lot of fun. And that’s what I feel like this show is all about.

I’m no art professional and really just an art layman (laySHAN) but I think art is best when it’s out in the world for a ton of people to enjoy, existing in a fluid state and not trapped and locked away in some rich dude’s house.

But I digress.

So on to the art! I’m going to show you some of my favs and also you should go check it out. The Gigantic Miniature Show will be display and for sale (even to us commoners) at Deep Space Gallery until January 31, 2021.

rebecca johnson.

Rebecca Johnson, @frankiebinx on Instagram, made these wooden looking plate looking pieces and they’re great. The top one features her pup Frankie, I believe. That one says “sunshine,” and another one says “medicine.” For some reason I can’t unscramble the letters well when they’re in a circle like that so I challenge you to figure out what the other 2 say because I have no idea.

dylon egon.

Dylan Egon put a big one of these up next to the Jersey City Medical Centee toward the beginning of our pandemic reality and I always loved it. When BLM started picking up speed in the late spring he added the BLM flag to it. And I guess to three of these small ones too!

molly craig.

As a food and a thing I’m generally opposed to Hot Fries, but as a beaded piece of art I’m fully on board. Hot Fries cheers, in which you each take a fry and cross it like swords, to Molly Craig.

<I don’t know who this is plz halp>

I enjoyed this because it made me think of the passage of time but like when time feels like it takes forever and you’re stuck in a bad moment and it sucks. Kind of like 2020. And the title of this is… “2020.”

delilah miske.

A couple of collages from Delilah Miske.

All I know is that this one has a scorpion and I love it.

All I know is that this one has a hummingbird, and I love it.

robots will kill.

These pieces from Robots Will Kill are great in that they are all of a fun little robot pal doing a fun little robot pal thing out on the world. The top left has three little birds and is there more my most fav. It’s very important that we respect robots as a thing because they will one day be our overlords and we need to get on their good side as soon as we can.

alexis kandra.

This gal always makes little animal squares like these and of course I love them because they have ANIMALS. Last year there was a dragon one and also a black Pegasus one I liked. This year I liked the tigers.

joe waks.

I’ve seen this artist’s work on the street and thought it was old ads that were still in really good shape and I was like how are they in this good of shape?!

I’m an idiot. This is modern street art. Probably from like our current decade. Not old ads. Just FYI.

sean lugo.

These bearsss are ev-ry-whereeeee

But they are! Ive seen these bears by Sean Lugo around JC and I’ve also seen them in Philadelphia. And that equals everywhere. I love that about them, don’t get me wrong. I love that they’re everywhere. Keep it up, bears.

keith garcia.

Keith Garcia, @bel_biv_devoe_1 on Instagram, is another consistent fav. As I was typing “consistent” it tried to auto correct it to “concise” and it made me think about why I like this art and the reason why is because IT IS CONCISE. The squares and the angles and the color palettes. And I love the MAC machine ones most because when I was a kid I would try to get my mom to buy me stuff and she’d be line “I have no money” and I’d be like “Just go to the MAC machine!” Because I thought it had unlimited money. I mean MAC machines DO have unlimited money right?

gigi chen.

Gigi Chen makes some of my most favorite things OF ALL TIME because she almost always puts a bird on it, at least from what I’ve seen. These were a little out of my price range but they’re the kind of thing I would def buy if I could ESPECIALLY THE PIGEON OBVIOUSLY.

Someday.

kyle orlando.

We went to Kyle’s show “Always Nervous” at Deep Space back in September and it was really fun. I know you’re like “ugh shan again with the animals,” but all of the pieces have this same cat figure doing cat figure things. And he’s a fun funny little guy. That’s all I really have to say about it but just know that I enjoy this cat figure and its shenanigans a great deal.

norm kirby.

Norm is a Jersey City legend. Not a lie. My favorite things he does are the drawings of local places. I also really like the wire skulls. Update: The skulls aren’t made with wire but with a 3D pen using plastic which makes me like them MORE.

casey bolding.

Some colors from Casey Bolding I must have enjoyed. I think I like them more as a group than as individuals. Maybe they’re supposed to be together?

leandro comrie.

I like that these works by Leandro Comrie look kind of creepy and I really like the little ghost guys in the middle on the right. Nothing like little ghosts guys to entertain me.

macauley norman.

I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of any of his stuff because I love it! But here is a screenshot from his Instagram of the one I liked best, this Mona Lisa gal.

That’s the show! DM Deep Space Gallery on Instagram at @deepspacejc to go check it out!

john g. slaby’s slow summer macadam at deep space gallery.

This past weekend we attended the opening for John G. Slaby’s show “Slow Summer Macadam” at Deep Space Gallery and it was the highlight of our Saturday night.

I’ll go ahead and say it: Saturday was the best day of our collective lives in 4 years. Things are looking up! It was also a beautiful day weather-wise in the northeast. People were out and about, and they were PUMPED. An art opening was the perfect place to be!

And the art was GREAT. I’m no profesh and my opinion does not matter but as a casual art observer I was INTO IT.

skies.

Almost all of the pieces I really enjoyed had some aspect of a colorful sky in them. Like a super bright cloudless blue or a post-sunset twilight pink/purple. The paint colors for the skies took me to A PLACE.

animals.

Many of the pieces of art had animals! You know how I feel about animals, you guys. So each of the following pieces of art will come with an unsolicited personal story about an animal or two. You’re welcome.

Bats!

This one with the bats was my most favorite in the whole show. I LOVE THESE BATS. Maybe it’s because I’m still feeling a residual “spooky time of the year” feeling. It’s a good feeling to feel.

Part of the theme of the show was this nostalgia regarding growing up in a rural/suburban kind of place and being out and about with pals getting into trouble or wishing there was maybe just a tiny bit of trouble to get into but it was too boring for even that to happen. I guess that’s my personal interpretation of that kind of nostalgia. BUT part of being outside when the night falls and you’re hoping for some (good) trouble is that the bats start to come out! Like they’re flying around in their super fun erratic way and you’re like, “THE NIGHT HAS ARRIVEDDDDD!”

Also I just learned a bit about bats in a webinar I attended a couple of weeks ago that Wild Bird Fund put on. Completely unrelated to art but I learned some cool stuff about bats and what “torpor” means and what to do if you find a sleepy/injured/acting weird bat to help it. So like, I’m flying high on bats right now.

Bird nest and mouse!

My second favorite painting was this one of a “School” sign featuring a huge mess a bird made just by living there and a cute little mouse looking on in the bottom corner.

I just love how the bird nest is all haphazard and the bird(s) just went to the bathroom all over the whole thing. Because that’s what birds do. I love birds but they’re a huge mess.

It’s a super mundane every day thing, the bird mess on a public building, and I found a weird comfort in looking at that. Kind of like when I see pigeons roosting (also making a HUGE mess) under the awnings over top of bodega windows. Birds are just hanging out and watching us and making a mess. That’s their life.

The tiny mouse peeking in also made me glad. I currently have a mouse in my house and for now he’s my friend. He hasn’t eaten anything or chewed anything or even made a mess so I’m not mad at him. I also only see him once a week or so. Anyway I love the mouse. Yes, I knowingly live with a mouse. I SAID he stays out of the way. Deal with it.

The last of the animal friend paintings I noticed was this one that includes a TON of animal friends looking on.

I talked to Slaby a little about the animals and how much I loved them and he mentioned he included them because animals are always around and observing us. And he’s right! I love that. I don’t know what else to say besides, “I love that.” Hopefully that’s enough. Even in a city the animals are always around.

This painting looked like it had raccoons in it and I was like, “I have two raccoons that live on my roof and hang out on my fire escape!” Then I realized that sounds weird. Maybe. But then the artist was like, “Yeah raccoons are cool, they’re so BAD.” But like good bad because they are HILARIOUS and ADORABLE. I said the “hilarious and adorable” part inside my head but I feel we were on the same page regarding general raccoon bad-assery and I was pleased.

scary catholic.

“Scary Catholic” is a genre of art I invented and some of Slaby’s art in this show fit the description. Maybe I didn’t invent it. I don’t know. Google it.

There was a small section of “Scary Catholic” that looked different from the other art. I believe he said it was inspired by a childhood of Catholic school and altar boy duties.

The artist graciously welcomes chatting next to the Scary Catholic.

One of the pieces was a rosary made out of skateboard wheels, YOU KNOW I loved that.

But “Scary Catholic” is scary because Catholicism is scary to me. Religion in general is terrifying but Catholicism does a good job of making stuff look super creepy and sometimes bloody. But also very richly colored! Which makes it art!

This leather jacket is so badass but I’m still scared of the Jesus. Or whoever.

influence.

I’m totally going to paraphrase because I had a few drinks and didn’t write this down, but another topic Slaby was kind enough to discuss with us was the concept of influence and how certain ideas/cultures end up in places that seem unlikely. He talked about growing up near Wilkes-Barre, PA in the 90s before the internet as we know it now, and how it took “someone visiting their cousin in the city and then bringing it back” for him and his friends to learn more about skateboarding culture.

This was relatable, as I also lived in the middle of nowhere with limited outside influence and I remember the first time I made friends with kids from Bergen County at Rutgers and I was like “Where are they GETTING these clothes because I NEED them” <Goes to Garden State Plaza for the first time in 2004 and buys all of Bebe>. I mean skateboarding and North Jersey Mall Culture are two completely different things but like, I GET it. It has to come from somewhere, when you’re from nowhere. And that was a mind blowing thing to make art about.

macadam.

I should have asked about this as well but I had no idea what “macadam” meant. I googled it just now and it says “Because of the historic use of macadam as a road surface, roads in some parts of the United States (as parts of Pennsylvania) are often referred to as macadam, even though they might be made of asphalt or concrete.” So I guess that makes sense. There was one piece that was very… road inspired. PS Pennsylvania is HAVING A MOMENT right now.

I really liked the texture!

And I guess you do need asphalt/concrete/macadam for the skateboarding. As I’ve said before I’m a skateboarding admirer to the core but I don’t REALLY know anything about it.

So that was the show! I also got these really fun skull stickers. Not part of the show, but now part of my life.

John G. Slaby’s Slow Summer Macadam is at Deep Space Gallery until 11/29. Slide into their DMs on Instagram at @deepspacejc to set up a time to visit and GET UR BUTT THERE.

distort “reaching for the steal”at deep space gallery.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Jersey City’s own Distort at Deep Space Gallery. I attended the opening last night and it was freakin fantastic. But TECHNICALLY the opening is all weekend so you should prob get your ass over there.

I was incredibly beyond excited to get back to a semi-normal-feeling Deep Space weekend opening. Like, it was the evening and people were THERE and we could look at art and also CHAT. I realized that perhaps IT WAS THE CHATTING I’D MISSED MOST.

I’ve been to a few of their openings in normal times and one or two during post covid times. Or like WITHIN covid times. The times we live in. And during covid times they have done a great job of keeping it to only a certain number of people inside, making sure they wear masks and sanitize their hands, and overall just following the basic rules that keep us all alive.

And I applaud them!

This time around, because it was a local artist more people know about and I think they expect more people, they are more strictly observing a reservation policy just to keep things organized. So email them at deepspacejc@gmail.com or DM them on Instagram at @deepspacejc to make one! RUN DON’T WALK!

As always the artist was in attendance so we could ask him questions but this time I was too busy catching up with some pals I haven’t seen in a while. We’re hoping to maybe go back for a bit on Sunday and I can ask my questions then. Oh shit better make a reservation…

As for the show…LOVED IT. I guess I always “love” everything I write about but just know I don’t write about things I don’t love unless they really, really outrage me.

It’s true that I love bright, loud, vibrant colors, but the slightly muted colors of Distort’s work also appeal to me. They gray tones combined with blues/greens/purples actually remind me of my best bird pal the pigeon, in the best way. Like they look gray but when you look close at some of them you can see the greenish-purple sheen of their feathers.

AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

I also like the use of cityscapes in the background or foreground or randomly in the paintings. I think I recognized Philadelphia? Maybe I just thought I saw it because it’s in my mind because I’m going there next week? Something to ask if we go back on Sunday. Still need to make a reservation.

Wait JK I lied about that. There is a live Zoom tour by Distort at 3:10pm on Sunday October 4. That’s where I got “Sunday” from. Jeez I need to start writing shit down. You can register at thejcast.com/jcast-live

I believe that some of the work is on a canvas of a kind of metal, and some of it is etched to make designs with some of it also being painted. It’s cool! I like the combination of the two and can’t remember seeing it anywhere else, besides other times I’ve seen this type of work by Distort around the town.

There were also fun/exciting/mind blowing 3D elements around both of the rooms.

The walls were painted to look like exposed brick and then some kind of plastery(?) material was used to make it look like parts of the wall were soft or liquidy or like curtains or something and got pulled to the side to expose the exposed brick parts of the wall.

AND since it is OFFICIALLY SPOOKY SEASON it was a nice spooky touch to have a creepy hand reaching out of one wall.

And some creepy heads coming out of another.

These probably weren’t nods to spooky season and were likely meant to convey something else but they made me happy either way.

This one made me unhappy because it’s “a little kid getting a gun on Xmas morning” kinda vibe. I think maybe it was supposed to make me unhappy. But I’m terrified…TERRIFIED of guns so gun arts always make me very nervous. I feel as if the gun is able to jump out and kill me. Which is perfectly rational, you guys. Guns are awful.

This one I loved because I made a little joke about the woman crying and holding her shoes in it and was like, “This is me on a Saturday night at Rutgers.”

Har har I think only I thought it was funny. Very good piece, either way.

Oooo this was a very fun and interactive tiny hall/tunnel made of mirrors to look into. VERY FUN. VERY INTERACTIVE.

And of course, lady lib. LADY LIB 4EVA. LADY LIB IN EVERY ART SHOW EVER. LADY LIB 4 PREZ.

Also be sure to browse the shop downstairs when you walk in! They have a ton of records, housewares, jewelry, and clothes. A WHOLE BUNCH OF COOL STUFF.

They’ve just done a bit of reorganization in the shop and it looks great!

The opening weekend for Distort “Reaching for the Steal” at Deep Space Gallery continues today Oct 3 12pm-11pm and tomorrow Oct 4 12pm-8pm. RSVP AND GO TO THERE.

kyle orlando – always nervous at deep space gallery.

Last week I had a ladies night with my pals that set me up for a weekend-party-shan-spiral I’ve only just recovered from. BUT I was fortunately able to make it to Kyle Orlando – Always Nervous at Deep Space Gallery.

The show was great and I was glad I saw it, albeit only for a quick moment while I stood there, exhausted, and stared at the art and smiled softly. As I thought about how sleepy I was and almost fell asleep right there. And it was my own fault. Because alcohol is a depressant.

But I was there! And I loved it!

I always love it. Deep Space is one of my top 5 fav places in JC and that says a lot because I love 94% of the stuff in this gosh darn town.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to chat with the artist because I was a walking zombie but he was there for questions, and if I had been able to speak I would have said, “What kinda cat is this?”

The cat appears to be like a leopard or a cheetah or a jaguar? But then there’s some confusing thing with panthers where some of them have spots? And “panther” means the same as one of the other things? And “puma” is in there somewhere? I get confused with these cats. Maybe he’s just a generic kind of cartoon cat created for art purposes only that doesn’t have a species? Which like, is totally fine. I’ll allow it.

The “Always Nervous” cat, as I would like to refer to him, is a fun animal to have on hand and have him get into all sorts of shenanigans and that’s what I felt like each piece of art was.

“Mr. Always Nervous Cat Jumps Over a Rainbow.”

“Mr. Always Nervous Cat Hangs From a Tree in a (hopefully?) Playful Way.”

“Mr. Always Nervous Cat IS America.”

“Mr. Always Nervous Cat Can Also be Pink and Hey Shanimal I Know You LOVE Pink.” Ugh I do. I loved this one best.

“Mr. Always Nervous Cat in Marker on a Tote Bag and That’s Cool AF.” Okay jk I liked the tote bags best.

These silly titles I used are not what these paintings are called but what I took from them and that’s something very positive. LOVED IT. It’s interesting to see the same thing but in a bunch of totally different ways, in different colors with different things around it. You know, the same but…DIFFERENT.

Additionally if I had been alive that day I would have asked Kyle Orlando, “Hey why is it called ‘Always Nervous’?” Because I am mostly always nervous and relate to that on a personal level. I’m sure I could look it up or ask the nice folks at Deep Space. Or even ask Kyle Orlando because you can find him on Instagram at @klando.

Hey how about maybe you go ask him?! I’m feeling shy.

Overall I loved this show. Of course, I already said that. But I’d like to say it more. I thought the gallery looked really cool with all these Mr. Nervous Cats around. Also I hadn’t been there in the day time for a while so it looked really pretty with the sun shining in and when I looked out the back window it looked like I was in the forest somewhere and not even in Jersey City. I never noticed that. Weird!

The next show at Deep Space is a big one and everyone is very freakin pumped about it. It’s called Reaching for the Steal and has work by Jersey City’s own Distort.

Opening weekend is next weekend! Oct. 2 4-11pm, Oct. 3 12-11pm, and Oct. 4 12-8pm.

They’re social distancing pros at Deep Space so email deepspaceJC@gmail.com or slide into the DMs – @deepspacejc to set up a time to go.

I’LL SEE YOU THERE FOLKS. AND I WON’T BE TIRED THIS TIME.

making friendship bracelets is knitting for summer.

I love summer. I love knitting. But you can’t really knit in summer because it’s too damn hot to have all that itchy yarn all over you. Luckily I have recently discovered that making friendship bracelets is knitting for summer.

Now I can make fun colorful creations for myself and for my friends! I can wear my own creations and I can give creations to my friends and they will feel obligated to wear them because I made them and they don’t want to hurt my feelings! Also the rule with friendship bracelets is that you never take them off UNTIL THEY FALL OFF. So guess what friends I’TS TIME TO STRAP IN.

When I was a kid the “cool” slightly older girl kids at the community pool all sat in a circle on their thick, fluffy name-brand towels and constructed friendship bracelets all day. I’m at a loss regarding which verb word to choose to use to describe the creation of a friendship bracelet. It’s sometimes “braiding” but not always. Maybe “weaving”? I guess I’ll stick to “constructing” for now.

The cool girl friendship bracelet making fluffy towel circle at the local community pool was everything I wanted to be but knew I probably never would. It required a large plastic box with different compartments where embroidery thread, safety pins, ribbon, and even some beads were stored.

I was correct and I never obtained this box as a child. But two summers ago I got one for myself on Amazon BECAUSE I’M A GROWN ASS WOMAN THAT NEEDS TO CREATE FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS. I subsequently did not use this box or anything in it until a couple of weeks ago.

It was very dusty when I took it out.

After I blew the dust off I got to work! At first I could only braid, like with 3 strands. Just a basic braid, you guys. I watched some YouTube vids but I’ve never had luck learning from those, I think I need to learn in person.

One day at the beach I sat down and I summoned the brain of my ten year old self and suddenly a pattern came to me. It shot right out of my brain down my arms and into my hands. I was able to make a pattern with 5 strings! One that I had learned as a kid. It was very exciting!

I told anyone that would listen that it was “an exciting brain teaser challenge.” I am so annoying.

The biggest perk of knitting is that it relieves anxiety. It really, truly does. I started to do it at the suggestion of a therapist and I never stopped. It’s very soothing to do a repetitive activity with your hands while your head just zones out. I’m so glad it works for me because it is VERY HARD for me to “zone out” without assistance. Medical/pharmaceutical or fiber based assistance.

And creating friendship bracelets relieves anxiety in the same way! So I plan to take my little plastic box of thread and friendship bracelet accouterments everywhere. Like why the hell not at this point.

Do you like making friendship bracelets? Can you teach me any new patterns? LMK thx.

waiting for sunshine at deep space gallery.

YOU GUYS. Not only was I excited to actually leave my house for a destination other than JC Bourbon Street, but I was excited to get back to checking out the bad ass art at Deep Space Gallery. On a Saturday afternoon…late afternoon, because I was late…I attended the opening for Waiting for Sunshine at Deep Space Gallery, showcasing art by Rebecca Johnson and Macauley Norman. I apologize for not posting about it until now, but my brain has just been really tired.

Before you get all FREAKED OUT, this was a socially distanced opening and all of the precautions were taken. Frankly they straight up EXCELLED at the precautions. There was hand sanitizer and masks and you signed in on a little sign-in sheet and only a certain number of people were allowed inside at a time.

SO JUST CALM DOWN.

The best part was that we got back to art! I really, really missed going out and looking at art with my pals, and I especially missed going to Deep Space because it’s my favorite place to go look at art with my pals.

The gallery looked beautiful! It actually was really cool to see everything without other people in the way. I mean, I do like other people but sometimes they’re in the way. Actually, I’m lying. As a rule I DO NOT like other people. Either way there was lots of space for me to roam around and look at the art!

You may be aware that I REALLY LIKE BRIGHT COLORS and they held no punches on the bright colors with this one. Both artists’ works were vibrant and resplendent, some were even glittering and sparkling! Also there was yarn.

I love yarn.

macauley norman.

I always like to chat with Macauley when I run into him at Deep Space and this opening was no different! Always good for a chat, that guy.

His art was also good! As I mentioned, there was yarn. He brought the yarn.

A few months ago I attended a store opening and they had some hats there I thought were knit and someone corrected me and was like, “They are CROCHETED,” and I googled it and they were right. So I was really embarrassed. They weren’t mean or anything, I just hate not knowing things. So when I was asking Macauley about his work involving yarn I was like, “Is that crochet?” When it actually seemed quite obviously knit but I no longer trust my own brain.

Anyway he confirmed that it was knit and I thought it was a badass method of mixing media. And I was also glad I was right this time. In my mind.

Along with the knitting/weaving, many of the pieces had spiders in them! I also really like spiders but I realize I’m in the minority. Macauley talked to me about how he was a little worried that the spiders would be off-putting for some…which was a good point.

But I say SPIDER AWAY. Because they also knit. They’re knitters of nature! They knit webs, you guys.

Another fun part of some of his work was friendship bracelets! I’m telling you, the medias were really mixin.

rebecca johnson.

The other fab artist in the Waiting for Sunshine show is Rebecca Johnson. She was there for chatting too! And has super cool newly hot pink hair, and two cute dogs. “Polite” dogs are welcome there! Only polite ones. No jerk dogs allowed. It’s the rules.

Polite dog, exhibit A.

I have seen Rebecca’s work before and really liked it. There are animals and ladies and flowers and colors…all the things I love most.

The best part is, SOME OF HER ART SPARKLES! I was super into her use of glitter on some past pieces, and the ones at this show had small reflective squares on them.

Upon closer examination, THESE WERE ACTUAL DISCO BALL MIRRORS. Can’t get better than that.

It’s my own conclusion that they’re from disco balls, I didn’t get to confirm with her. Just go with the disco ball thing, it’s fun.

Another thing I didn’t get to ask her about was some of the themes and what they meant for her when she created the art. I noticed a lot of birds (MY FAV) and some references to lungs. I’m personally always thinking about birds, but right now I think EVERYONE is probably thinking about lungs. A little bit, at least once a day. Like, “Can I still breathe? Okay, whew.”

In my mind the lungs were a nod to the scary COVID-19 world we live in right now. Maybe that’s not what they were intended to invoke, but I felt some degree of commiseration in viewing “lungs” as a topic.

She also had a piece that perhaps signified the other ways people can have trouble breathing that leads to death. Like from police brutality. Because a cop’s knee is on their neck. And they can’t breathe. I thought it was a beautiful tribute, and yet another important reminder to do better and fight to force others to do better as well.

waiting for sunshine.

This is a great show! A great reason to leave the house! An awesome local business that is excelling at social distancing and sanitation practices! What more could you ask for?!

Waiting for Sunshine will be on display until July 18. Deep Space Gallery is located at 77 Corneilson Ave in YOU GUESSED IT, the beautiful Jersey City, NJ. Reservations can be made by sending a DM (hawt.) to @deepspacejc on Instagram or emailing deepspacejc@gmail.com

Check it out!

This isn’t in the show but it’s down the street and worth a peek as well! I feel like it fits in with the overall vibe?

i love betty on hbo.

I love Betty on HBO. And don’t worry, they just got renewed for a 2nd season.

Why do I love Betty on HBO? You may be aware that I have always been a huge fan of skateboarding and folks that skateboard. Like since birth. Or at least since I could comprehend other people doing sports that I would never, ever be brave enough to do.

I was never coordinated or athletic, and as a kid I mostly wanted to read books, so I never really took an opportunity to learn this skill I so admired. I chose to just creepily stare at other people doing it. Just bein’ a lurker. Really great at lurking.

I’m sorry, I can’t not.

I’ve always been amazed/enthralled/obsessed with feats of physical prowess and for whatever reason watching people skateboard was always at the top of my list. As a kid I would watch dudes skateboarding, totally entranced. I didn’t know if I wanted to make out with them or if I wanted to BE them.

I definitely wanted to make out with them.

But maybe it was a little bit of both.

These days I still get pretty hypnotized watching. The very sound of polyurethane wheels on pavement makes my ears perk up and demands my immediate attention. It’s difficult for me to triangulate where the sound is coming from because I’m deaf in one ear, but I still try to catch a glimpse even if it means spinning around in a circle until I see where I can find them.

On Betty the CHICKS do the skateboarding, and I definitely want to be them, although it’s not my style to make out with other gals so we’ll keep it to just the “being them” and not making out with them, as far as I’m concerned.

I love to see gals being pals and having fun and supporting each other. And also being athletes! And telling dudes to STFU! Last summer (omg were they shooting last summer I BET THEY WERE), I saw Nina Moran (HOLY SHIT SHE HAS A TED TALK?!), who plays “Kirt” on the show, by the Flatiron Building during my lunch break and I was like omgomgomg. Her character is goofy but I think she’s my fav. She always wears tie-dye and shorts and even though she has more of a masculine style vibe she always wears fun dangly earrings and bright colors. I couldn’t bring myself to be like “Hey! I love you! And Skate Kitchen! And gals supporting gals! And Intersectional Feminism! Please be my best friend!” so I just kind of stared. Even though the actors/characters are a century younger than me, I kind of look up to them.

Okay, I definitely look up to them. They all wear fun clothes and are bold and confident and they run around NYC and make it their bitch. Betty is inspired/kind of an extension of Skate Kitchen, which is also amazing GO WATCH IT.

What really struck me about Betty at first, and what continues to mesmerize me, is that they are romping around in what appears to be an NYC summer that never ends. It’s always warm, the leaves are green, they go to a public pool, and there is even a surprise thunderstorm where they have to run inside and hide in a bodega.

Relatable AF.

We started watching the show during social distancing, and it provided a much needed escape. I jumped right into their world and for 30 minutes pretended to be a late teens/early twenties-something, with no work and no school, FREE TO RUN AROUND IN THE OUTDOORS with my pals and bask under green leaves in eternal sunshine.

I don’t know, I just really like it. You should like it too. GO WATCH NOW K THX.