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.
I stood and looked at this one for a long time because it’s large and there are a lot of different details.
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.
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.
Of course this is my fav because birds. And also…BONES.
Hey hi just going to do a quick recap of the Self Love Soiree I attended on Saturday because self love is very important especially during these valentines times.
LIKE VERY IMPORTANT.
I’ve written about this before but I think Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on loving yourself. Wait have I written about this before? I know I’ve written about loving your friends on Valentine’s Day. Also important!
Either way, love yourself. Just do it. It feels great. It’s totally worth it. And in the world today there are actually a ton of opportunities for self love and self care and it’s now socially acceptable to take a break and take a breath and also to admire yourself so LET’S DO IT.
The night before the Self Love Soiree I returned to drinking after a dry January so it was VERY DIFFICULT to get going but I eventually got out of bed. After a cold brew and a green juice at The Cottage on Monticello I was happily on my way to Deep Space/The Hive for the Soiree.
Yes, I do go there every weekend I guess. My boyfriend referred to it as my “community center.” MAYBE IT IS. It’s great because I can walk there and there’s always fun stuff there! I don’t know how it could get any better. I’m not ashamed.
Unfortunately I was still very hungover so I didn’t get a lot of pics. But I’ll share with you what I did!
I was excited to get a pair of conversation heart earrings from Aly Cupcake/Aly’s Little Things. THEY ARE SO COOL. There’s nothing I love more than cute jewelry with bad words on it. That’s not a lie.
She also had some really awesome pink/red/romantic looking earrings with Cupids and actual anatomical hearts on them that were SO COOL. Truthfully I really wanted these but technically I’m still in “No Shop Q1” so I’m not supposed to buy clothes or accessories.
I know I cheated with buying the convo heart earrings but they were like $10 so I think that’s a minimal shopping footprint.
Had to support a local business, you guys.
I really enjoyed checking out the display that find & revive set up. I realize I’m a broken record with this but the space looks so different at every event and I think that is so cool. I MEAN IT IS MY COMMUNITY CENTER, PEOPLE.
They had lots of reds and purples and animal print and it was all very romantic and lovely. Honestly I couldn’t even go near it because I would have been too tempted to buy.
I can’t wait until April 1.
This Saturday 2/13/21, find & revive will be back with a pop up at the Galentine’s event at Monroe’s in Hoboken so check THAT out. (I will)
Tainable, Kaze Jewels, and Dalia Handcrafts were also in attendance as vendors. I didn’t get to take the closest look at them on Saturday but I checked them out on Instagram and they all have great stuff so I hope to see them again when I can buy…EVERYTHING.
On my way out I got distracted by some books and I came across two advance copies of books I’ve been wanting to read! Like they’re released now but these copies were advance at one time and now very affordable because the person that had them originally was giving them away. Because books are expensive!
One of them is Detransition, Baby and it’s the next book for Roxanne Gay’s online book club The Audacious Book Club SO THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY. I can tell you more about the book club another time but it’s really incredibly great and you should also subscribe to her newsletter The Audacity BECAUSE WHY NOT.
So that was the Self Love Soiree! I loved myself so much that I needed a nap after. A long one.
As far as my community center, there is a Galentine’s event there this weekend they’re hosting along with JC Women’s Collaborative that looks very fun so if you’re a gal and you have pals that are gals you should check it out.
You guys, I forgot I like records. I like, REALLY LIKE RECORDS.
Don’t worry, I remembered this past Saturday. You can call off the search party.
I’m not 100% sure how I first got into records but one day in 2009 I ordered this old LOOKING record player from Target at the recommendation of my friend Laura from work. The first record I bought was Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest because DUH IT WAS 2009. PS I was here. Be impressed. Beyonce was there!
But then I realized that NEW records are very expensive and also not very fun to go looking for. But OLD records can be under $5 and you get to do an ACTIVITY that involves digging through bins of old dusty things and THAT is the adventure I was after.
ADDITIONALLY record stores are often havens for cute, quiet mysterious guys who love music and hate themselves and that was ALSO the kind of adventure I was after.
So I went to record stores! I went in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Austin and LA and Deep Ellum (Dallas) and Phoenix and Athens, GA. I went to record stores wherever I went whenever I could find them. I bought tons of $1 records that I then crammed into the middle of my overstuffed suitcase that I had to sit on to close and cross my fingers they didn’t snap in half.
You’ll be glad to know, I never snapped a record. Whew.
When I lived in downtown Jersey City I loved to go to Iris Records and peruse the dollar bins. You may be aware that “peruse,” although often used to describe a quick scan of something, is in fact THE OPPOSITE and means that you take a long-ass time to carefully and purposefully look through something. So yes, that is what I would do. (OH SHIT MERRIAM-WEBSTER IT MEANS BOTH <AIR HORN SOUND>)
Sometimes I would bring friends, or some guy or whoever, but I really enjoyed it when I went by myself and I was lost in my own thoughts and thinking about my own ideas of what music…IS. And what I like about it, and what I don’t like about it, and which records were worth spending $1 on.
At the end of my search when I approached the register with my pile, I always felt judged. I won’t lie! Music people are very judgmental. Which is uncool. And also why I never really considered myself like an actual, ACTUAL music person, even though I love music and going to concerts and ogling boys in bands. It’s too much to keep up with. I’ve said before I’m not compettive and I’m really not. I don’t want to have like a music stand off with you about who knows more.
I would rather die.
So yeah, checking out at record stores always felt hard, as I felt judged. But that could just be me, being an awkward weirdo. Either way you feel as though you are presenting your valuable discoveries to a panel of experts and you’re concerned about whether or not your ideas will be validated and/or accepted as fact. And like, whatever, I guess. The guy at Iris Records was super nice. He had curly hair and glasses and definitely smiled, so he gets respect for that.
But then Iris Records was no more! But maybe they’re back now? I don’t know, I’m confused.
For the last couple of years, even before the pandemic, I had started to really enjoy SILENCE. Like just sitting in my apartment reading in SILENCE. Or messing around on my phone BUT IN SILENCE. Or in the kitchen baking but with NO ADDITIONAL NOISES. I really started not listening to music as much. Sometimes I didn’t listen to music for weeks at a time. Maybe I was kind of going through something, or maybe I just needed a break. I had gone through a solid decade of hard work learning about new bands and listening to new songs and attending concerts that went super late on school nights and going to 3 day long festivals and I was DEFINITELY too old to make it through 3 days toward the end. Music and I were like, “On a break.” For a while!
In December of last year I started to run for recreational purposes, and with running came random playlists curated by Nike Run Club and some of those playlists had songs I liked! So I started to build a playlist of stuff I liked again, and I’ve been listening to it, as I move around the world…or just my house.
And I’ve been enjoying it. But, as I said, the return to records didn’t happen until this past weekend. There was a $1 record sale at Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and of course I had to go because it’s one of my favorite places but also I can reasonably walk there and I needed to get my steps in, you guys.
Before I left I was going through old records that I haven’t even looked at in at least two years and I remembered all the late nights at my old apartment, bringing friends back after the bar and sprawling around the living room and listening to random shit. These were defining moments of my life and I felt sad that I left them behind.
Once I got to Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop, it was as fun as I remembered to zone out and listen to music and relax and look through the boxes of records. And I reflected on how it was once one of my favorite things and I wondered why I had stayed away so long. I don’t really have an answer for that but I’m back, baby!
And the record sale is still going on this week, in fact they will be there this very night, Wednesday 2/3/21 3-7pm eastern standard time. Check out The Hive Goods Instagram for more info.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m now in the midst of a personal two week quarantine but the last fun social thing I did out in the public was check out the JC Women’s Collaborative Holiday Bazaar at The Hive Goods.
The Hive Goods is the downstairs shop at one of my favorite local galleries, Deep Space. This was the first time I was there specifically for shopping and not only for art-gawking. And I was ready to shop my face off.
Like many women (I hope I’m not the only one?) I have an issue when it’s gift buying time in which I buy gifts for myself instead of for others. OR gifts for myself in addtion to the gifts I’m getting for others. It’s just the way it goes. I love stuff just as much as the next real work-from-home housewife of New Jersey. It’s just the way it is. And I’m not sorry.
So there was a TON of stuff there that I would have LOVED to buy for myself, or even the majority of my female relatives. But the problem was, I already got the gifts for the other gals so I was mostly looking for something for my dad and brother who are both THE HARDEST TO SHOP FOR.
(I hope) they read this, so I won’t reveal what exactly I got for them but I did find a small thing or two for each of them!
But mostly I got things for myself.
Here’s a bit about some of the vendors!:
the hive goods.
As I said I’ve never gone over to 77 Corneilson just for shopping so I was very excited. Because shopping!
The most exciting thing to be done was go up to the roof and socially distance myself and fill up a bag with stuff in the bins up there for TEN DOLLARS.
Xtina, matriarch of The Hive Goods, sources and sells vintage and consignment items, and also hosts clothing swaps in the shop. So there were BINS ON BINS.
There was so much stuff! I got two little clutch purses in wild colors BECAUSE WHY NOT.
I got a skirt.
A picture frame that I put this year’s Xmas card in!
Also a print of a peacock because I need to surround myself with feathered friends THANKS.
I got even MORE stuff but I can’t tell because that stuff was gifts.
I DID get some gifts. OKAY?!
a petal to peddle.
These wreaths were BEAUTIFUL and the first kiosk you saw when you approached the building.
I follow A Petal to Peddle on Instagram but for whatever reason I’ve never seen their stuff in real life and it was SO PRETTY.
And smelled so nice. LIKE PINE.
These items were all wanted by me and me alone so I couldn’t get any because I was supposed to be getting GIFTS. But next time it’s game on.
Tia Planta is the plant aunt you’ve always wanted and it clearly says it in her name and therefore cannot be denied.
Even though plants meet certain death as my wards, I LOVE PLANTS AND TO BE AMONG THEM.
The Hive Goods was completely transformed for this bazaar and I love to see the different ways a space can be used. It gets me pumped up. Who knows why. But I think the best new and innovative use of a space I already know and love was putting a forest of plants on top of the pool table.
It just looked totally awesome.
I didn’t get any plants because I wasn’t in a position to carry them around on my Saturday activities but that didn’t mean I didn’t WANT to.
Tia Planta also currently has a pop up kiosk in McGinley Sq and after I’m done with my self quar for Xmas I plan to head over.
It’s no secret that I love some pottery. Or maybe I’ve never talked about it. I don’t remember.
Artesana Pottery was SUPER cool and unique and each piece is the literal definition of one of a kind. I know that because the gal in charge of the pottery told me it was so.
This great gal ALSO gave us some coquito and it was INCREDIBLE. Super into coquito these days and 10/10 would Artesana Coquito(TM) again.
I did end up getting something for myself here and it was this hand dish with SPIDERS on it to save for Halloween decor next year.
She also had a number of pieces with generic birds and also OWLS and I was VERY TEMPTED.
I do follow her on Instagram so I can always order there. When it’s socially appropriate to buy things for myself again.
slow burn alters.
Slow Burn Alters was recently created by a gal of all trades, master of most of them, who also does some art, beautiful (and heartbreaking in a good way) poetry I’ve come across on the internets, and community reach out via a group called Locality Giveback.
As for the alters, they were nicely put together and packaged – a perfect gift for a pal or fam member who is in touch with the spiritual side of themselves.
My pal got one and we opened it up back at her house and it had a tiny little baby candle with a holder and a crystal and a sage thingy and it was so mini and compact and also perfectly suited for its purpose and was therefore swoon-worthy. Even though I personally am not spiritual at all and unsure of its purpose…I still felt like it HAD to have checked all the boxes for a rad spiritual moment at home or on the go.
JC Women’s Collaborative is a group I’ve been seeing around the town and they seemed fun and not mean and I’ve been meaning to go to one of their events! One time they had one in Lincoln Park in the fall and I couldn’t find them and I gave up and just laid on a blanket and watched their Instagram stories. As we existed in parallel universes in the same park…
So I was glad I found my way to this event! They ran the show and were super welcoming. They gave out fun Jersey City masks (“fun” because anything with “Jersey City” written on it is VERY FUN to me), hand sanitizer, coffee, and overall “vibes.”
They even gave me some cups for our coquito when I know I was being very annoying asking for them. TRUE HEROES!
In addition to hosting this bazaar, they also hosted a super fun and festive Zoom holiday party on Thursday and it was worth the hangover I had after 2 glasses of wine and one beer.
I GOT 8/10 ON THE TRIVIA.
Just had to tell someone.
Not a vendor, but The Flow Initiative was at the event collecting period products. I’ve had a long saga with these period products. I got an IUD a few years ago and didn’t know I wouldn’t get a period anymore but I don’t AND I LOVE IT. But, I had all these tampons. Like three boxes. Just collecting dust.
I have been meaning to bring them to JaneDO, and to the last show at Deep Space to pass off to Xtina.
They were in a bag by my door. I forgot them like 5 times in a month-long period. I think eventually they got thrown away.
I had to go buy more before the event.
BUT I GOT THEM SOME TAMPONS TO CONTINUE CHANGING THE WORLD BY GETTING PERIOD PRODUCTS FOR THOSE THAT NEED THEM.
And I’m glad.
The JC Women’s Collaborative Holiday Bazaar at The Hive Goods was obviously badass. There were additional vendors but I didn’t even really get to spend time with them all. I hope they do it again just because and I can buy stuff for ME. maybe in the spring?
Well, The Hive Goods is also doing it again! It’s tomorrow (12/20) so I can’t go since I have to quar, but YOU should go. It’s 1-6pm at 77 Corneilson Ave in Jersey City.
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, @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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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, @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 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.
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 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 penusing plastic which makes me like them MORE.
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?
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.
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!
Last week-ish I went to Miracle on Mercer with some pals and I had an enjoyable and festive time.
I’ll warn you now, I didn’t really get any good pics and I’m sorry.
Miracle on Mercer is actually Franklin Social in disguise. But shh, don’t tell because some people still believe in Santa.
It’s beautifully decorated indoors and out! We sat outside because we all pretty much like it better that way, in these times. Luckily we were right underneath a heater but even if we weren’t I think it would have been fine. The “breezeway” area we were in was warm enough overall.
There were tons of lights and some cute old fashioned decorations and bows and snow sprayed on the window.
I WAS REALLY INTO IT.
The whole point of Miracle on Mercer is to have silly Xmas cocktails AND WE DID.
Just like everywhere they had the link to their menu on the table because menus are dirty germ factories and maybe we should actually never have them again. But this one had a cute reindeer on it!
I got the “Jingle Balls Nog” with the intention of trying something else after. But then I just got like 3 more nogs.
For many years I scoffed at the nog but frankly the nog is where it’s at. I have a renewed interest in drinks as dessert because I’m trying to minimize overall consumption and maybe shed some of my quarantine 20 so my fav clothes fit again. So, two birds one stone.
Even though that expression is mean and if I EVER see you going around throwing stones at birds I WILL END YOU.
We also got a couple of rounds of “Nice Shots” (rum, peppermint tea, chocolate) as a group. And they were grand. If all shots were fun like this I would be more excited when people are like, “I’ll buy you a shot!” But at other bars all I really have to choose from is Fireball and everyone always acts stuck up about that and it’s like we can’t ALL be “‘cool’ girls that drink whisk(e)y neat” or whatever so just CALM DOWN.
I didn’t get any snackies this time around but I have eaten there in the past and it was yummy enough. One of my pals got the Potato Croquettes and they looked pretty good. I wasn’t mad about it.
Miracle on Mercer will be Miracle on Mercer-ing until December 31 at 292 Barrow St in Downtown Jersey City. Okay before you get all FREAKED OUT about it, Mercer is the CROSS STREET because it is on A CORNER.
This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.
IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.
THIS WAS MY CHANCE.
I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.
On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.
It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.
JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.
As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.
When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.
They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!
After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.
I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.
They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.
It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!
tilly – eastern screech-owl.
Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.
Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.
During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.
But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.
Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.
Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.
titus – american kestrel.
Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.
Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!
I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.
Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.
jones – red tailed hawk.
Jones! Hello! I love you!
Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.
I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!
But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.
Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!
Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.
josephine – great horned owl.
Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.
So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.
But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.
They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.
I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.
And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.
I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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.
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.
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.