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!

self love soirée.

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.

WTF.

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.

I got the books from Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and I’m going to be looking for more books there next time. BECAUSE BOOKS.

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.

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.

jc women’s collaborative holiday bazaar at the hive goods.

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.

I tried.

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.

Because WREATHS.

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.

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.

artesana pottery.

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.

Whew!

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.

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.

flow initiative.

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.

Go on, git.

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.

freemans alley.

Today is this Friday, but LAST Friday I went to dinner at Freemans which is at the end of Freemans Alley and it was FAN FREAKIN TASTIC.

Sometimes with work we go to ridiculously expensive dinners because we get this “fun” budget for “team bonding,” and since we’re in NYC and we’re “too cool for school, we go to a delicious dinner instead of like, “playing laser tag.”

AND THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE TIMES.

But one time with the LA office I went to the Magic Castle and another time we went to the Dessert Cart which had a basketball game or something going on in the background. Those are tales for another time.

First I will speak about Freemans Alley. I did not even know it existed but it’s my new favorite thing and I need to go back and take more pictures of it. Preferably on a warmer day.

There was art in the alley! Street art!

And I recognized that some of the art was by Jersey City artists! And I was like “omg Jersey City!” And my co-workers just kept walking and were like, “Okok whatever let’s go eat the food.”

By Jersey City’s Dylan Egon 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Okay, okay.

It was well worth it to keep walking and go eat the food because it was DELISH AF YOU GUYS.

I mean this was a fancy pants restaurant that was expensive and we had to get a reservation like at least two weeks in advance SO THE FOOD BETTER BE DELISH AF.

And it was so don’t worry. For appetizers we had this artichoke dip that was seriously the greatest artichoke dip I’ve ever shoved in my mouth. They have artichoke dip at a lot of places and people make it when they have friends over and blah blah blah. But THIS was THE artichoke dip.

We also had dried “plums” stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon. They were incredibly, incredibly good. But we laughed at them a little bit because they called them a nice fancy little name like “dried plums” when DRIED PLUMS ARE JUST PRUNES YOU GUYS. Prunes got a bad name somewhere along the way. JUSTICE FOR PRUNES.

Dried Plum (Prune)

For an entree I got the Seared Hamachi and it was FREAKIN INCRED. I love to eat fish meals but I’m not great at preparing them myself so whenever I go out for like a “nice” dinner I choose the fish option. This hamachi was so, so delicious and it had beans with it and it was just perfect. ILY HAMACHI.

Omg there was creamed kale too I don’t know how I almost forgot that. CREAMED. FREAKIN. KALE. LIKE PLZ GIVE ME THE RECIPE.

I ate until I felt sick but that’s never stopped me before so I ordered Bananas Foster for dessert. And it was good! I haven’t had Bananas Foster much in my life so I can’t really compare it to others Bananas Fosters and also I thought they were supposed to light it on fire but maybe that’s something else.

(not on fire)

During the whole meal I drank white wine which I haven’t had since December so maybe that also contributed to me feeling sick but it was sick in like A GOOD WAY.

The building and decor were really cool. There were a TON of taxidermy animals LIKE A TON. Taxidermy animals sometimes freak me out but I’ve been readying this book that talks about taxidermy so it felt familiar to me in a weird way. I also was enjoying trying to identify the birds and whether something was a deer or an elk or a reindeer. The jury is still out on the deer stuff but I did see a Great Blue Heron (hey, heron, heyyyyyyy).

After the meal we made our way back down Freemans Alley and emerged back into the real world. We ordered our company-sponsored (thank youuu) Lyfts and went home. The end.

Have you ever been to Freemans Alley? What do you think?! Do you want to join me when I go back? K cool.