Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Art Openings

Another great week for great art.


Purplish: Works by Roy McMakin at James Harris Gallery

Bonus: For those of you who couldn't make it down to Portland Art Musuem, Jeff will have several pieces from his sphinx installed in the back gallery.

Light, Seeking Light: Installations by Claire Cowie, Mary Temple, Solange Fabião and Susan Philipsz at Western Bridge

Paper Cuts: Works by Kate Sweeney and Molly Norris at Gallery 110


Chinese Factory Paintings by Curtis Taylor

Stack:Heap:Loop by Brent Watanabe

Sunday, September 28, 2008


After the Western Bridge opening, Jody, Kelly and me skedaddled over to a hoedown at a barn over in Ravenna. A country buffet of assorted jerkies was laid out. A nice keg, lots of cowboy hats. The ladies began playing poker by the fire and Kenny Roger's The Gambler came on. At that point, it felt like some sort of a performance piece. Much obliged to the great hosts, Jen & Beth.

Light, Seeking Light

The latest exhibition to open up at Western Bridge is "Light, Seeking Light". It features the work of four really great artists: Claire Cowie, Mary Temple, Solange Fabião and Susan Philipsz.
The pieces are beautifully subtle. The main gallery is a new installation by Mary Temple. Many people walked in confused. If you are unfamiliar with Mary's work, it would look like a shadow-y, dimly lit room. Then you realize that light isn't right at all. Then you realize that the light and shadows (of plants) are painted directly on the wall. Depending on the time of day, to complicate things, there is also natural light so some of what you're seeing isn't Mary's work but the sun interacting with it. I love it. It feels really solid and interesting to me.

People kept saying, "Go see Claire's piece by the stairs." I thought, "Weird, I didn't even notice anything when I walked in."

She made probably a hundred or so mouths centered around the tube lighting around the stairs. The forms are great -- beautifully painted with her signature paint drips.

There is also a great sound piece, photographs and a video that I'd like to spend more time with. A really great show, one of my new Western Bridge favorites.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Do you want a napkin?"

"He just wants to stylize your angst for his online."

When Jeff got back from P.I.C.A., he introduced me to the work of Ryan Trecartin. He made a movie called I-B AREA.

The movie is a non-linear trip (and I mean trip) through the world of characters like Tonyah, Iyah, Pasta Melt, Sen-Teen, muse Mya, and a cast of others. (youtube video links)
Plain and simple -- it's the weirdest thing I've seen in a long while. And it's so good. I can't stop watching.

Friday, September 26, 2008

century 21: dealer's choice...

...had a lot of really great pieces in it. It didn't quite have the cohesion of past Wright Exhibition Space shows, but I really enjoyed it as a survey. Here are some of my favorite pieces -- biased or not.

Black Fu Dogs by Jeffry Mitchell

A show by gallery owners/directors about who they think will stand the artistic test of time?! Whether history proves them right or not, how can that not be interesting? And in this show, the omissions are almost as interesting as the included artists.
Drew Daly

I can see some merit in the criticisms ("hodgepodge-y", could use more women/younger artists) but I also think almost all of the pieces can hold their own. And above all else, I really appreciate the egalitarianism of the selection process.

Scott Fife (front) Victoria Haven (back)

I have seen (and loved) a lot of the pieces before. But one I haven't seen before was Joe Park's painting. It stopped me dead. My first thought was, "He just keeps getting better and better." (as if he wasn't always amazing!) The suppleness of his earlier work has given itself to an angularity that cuts through the canvas to reveal intense experiments in light. While not the highest quality photograph, the canvas below isn't reflecting glare -- the glare and intense light are part of the image. He's creating a sense of hyper-realism out of the mundane.

There was another piece there that I really loved as well. More on that later!

the collapse of wamu

When I logged in to my WaMu account this morning, this is the homepage image.

The deal just happened late last night. They don't screw around.

Personally, I would've went with a better image. The child in red looks sinsiter to me. (Unless that's your child -- and in that case, he's adorable!)

What is the message, "Guess who [owns your money now]?"

Odd. America is a weird place to be these past couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Chocolate Rub"

The one pot absinthe dinner at Cremant was a great evening. Everyone gathered in the cozy Salon du Jardin and sampled an absinthe. Next came stuffed vine dried tomatoes and a squash soup followed by a deliciously perfect cassoulet -- a hearty match for the first week of fall. More absinthe. Folks get louder. And funnier. Holly was cracking me up.

Some really interesting and nice folks -- one from Alaska sharing some Palin stories. It didn't get too political though. The perfectness of the autumn evening felt like a nice escape from the general anxiety out here.
The absinthe and liquid chocolate helped, too.

Gus Harper

Here's a video of my buddy, Gus Harper, creating one of his grid paintings. I find the time-lapse videos of folks making art fascinating. There's no big ending, just a video of him painting something beautiful! [3:11] I also love his pinecone series.

one pot + absinthe + cremant

michael hebb asked me to do the art/decorations for the one pot + absinthe + cremant dinner tonight. he wanted some absinthe-themed tablecloths. here's a preview of a drunk bear who enjoyed way too much absinthe. (who says my drawings are autobiographical?)

"the ever talented chef scott emerick of my favorite neighborhood bistro in the west - cremant - has just received a shipment of some kind of bonafide absinthe - you can expect that I will be merely sipping the myth-rich spirit - but I suggest you go full throttle and find out exactly why verlaine shot rimbaud and drove the young poet off to ethiopia to sell coffee. I have asked scott to re-animate a couple items he was taught while cooking at the michelin 3 star guy savoy in paris. don't expect a degustation menu - this is about absinthe and pots of food - but it shouldn't be missed - 20 seats only. and of course some fine coffee from ethiopia will follow...7pm. $70 person - includes absinthe and wine and food and merriment." via one pot

i, for the record, will be enjoying lots of absinthe with my good friends Dave and Jenny (and maybe Andrew? maybe Holly?) plus 18 folks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Love is forever...

...that's all your life!"

I love both Sheila E. and that line from her song, "The Glamorous Life". I always knew that it wasn't true for me because I was gay and so obviously, if you can't get married, your love can't last (I was in 7th grade people -- things were different then).

It's just so weird to all of sudden have friends getting married. Like legally married. Not just a civil union or a commitment ceremony. But a real, honest to goodness non-religious marriage! I just never thought it would happen in my life.

Congrats Roy and Mike. I'm so happy for you! You fellas make a great team!

Also, thanks to all the voices of reason in the Prop 8 debate. Many churches and religious leaders are against it because they know it's discriminatory. Even the conservative San Diego Union-Tribune's Editorial Staff has this to say,

...however, there has been no discernible impact on traditional marriage between a
man and a woman now that gay couples in California have the same right.

With gay marriage a fait accompli, society has not crumbled. The long-standing
institution of marriage is not in crisis.

I've never understood why folks are against gay marriage.

PS -- tonight's dinner (thank you Matt & Jennifer!) was all artists and scientists. I don't know why it took me so long to realize, but an artist/scientist relationship is ideal. The scientists can temper the crazy that's frequently found in artists. I want to date a scientist! :)


Today might offically be the first day of Fall but in Seattle, Sunday sure felt like a perfect start to autumn. Jeffry and I spent the evening at a fall bbq at Russ' house. Russ cooks at Boat Street and is an amazing chef. He's also leaving for South America in a week so it was great to see him before he heads out.
Outside of the great food, the highpoint for me was the fire-pit. I just love a fire.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

happy hour

My happy hours at CCs usually consist of me and Jeff. And that's actually how I like it. I know it seems odd to go to bar to just hang out with one friend, but it's something I picked up from Craig/Ryan. They would always go the Cuff to process.

Anyway, last night, with all this anxiety, I think folks were in the mood to gather and be with folks they cared about. So the group grew into about ten of us last night which made for a much more festive happy hour! After lots of drinking, the group dwindled down to about four of us. And things got serious about what's happening to America right now. It's easy to be doom and gloom, but with Trisha's presence, thing felt hopeful.

In a recent slog post, Christopher Frizzelle highlighted these words from Trisha's piece that stick with me:

As the economy crumbles further under the weight of stacked illusions, we’re
going to have to keep finding more creative ways to adapt. That might make us
more interdependent, more connected to one another. I mean locally and
globally—the world is becoming so intimate.

And, at the end of the day, it's about connections. At least for me.

Stay positive.


I have a nice group of folks I work with. A few of them are really into food and we've had some nice discussions. One of their favorites is the skillet. So every couple of weeks, we'll all pile into someone's car, go to skillet (it migrates -- check out their website for next lunch location), order our food, then come back to the office, sit at our desk and eat alone. I can be a loner anyway, so it's kind of nice to sit with a delicious lunch and read the Slog.
I had the burger, "grilled kobe “style” beef, cambazola, bacon jam, arugula, brioche with handcut fries."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Steak Salad

Smith has a new chef, Eliot Guthrie. With a new menu.
He's worked at Le Pichet and Campagne (and Lark briefly).
You can always count on Smith for keeping the menu fresh, and while also keeping favorites like poutine and the gruyere sandwich.
Check out Eliot's new menu. I was a steak salad weirdo (3x/week) a couple of menus back but then it disappeared (and I frequently lamented it). I got an email this morning saying it was back on the menu. YEA! (btw, the steak/panzanella salad was not bad at all either!). So, of course, I had to stop in tonight.
Anyway, the new steak salad is crazy good with endive and a non-mustard-y dressing (I liked the crunchiness of the mustard seeds, too). Again -- I just like steak + salad. Butter letter over mizuna. But the new one is nicely dressed! I also tried some delicious beat salad. I'm looking forward to trying everything on the menu over the next week or so.
So let me know if you're hungry for Smith.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"You are still in the running..."

I don't know why I'm so addicted to America's Next Top Model. But I am. I've been watching since cycle 1 -- and loving it.

Tonight is the best night: MAKEOVERS!

Monday, September 15, 2008


My dear friend Jeffry Mitchell was shortlisted for a Stranger Genius Award. I'm not surprised. I'm also not surprised that he didn't even know it until I congratulated him over drinks at our stammtisch.

This has been a banner year for him. Between NCAW at P.A.M. and then the beautiful installation at P.I.C.A., it's like, "Christ, you can't be that good!!". But yeah, he is. "If Mitchell has a medium, it is devotion." (Jen Graves)
This is "The Presentation of the Lightbulb to the Council of Penguins" and then something about a bear wearing a beaver mask. This hangs in my living room and is a huge artistic inspiration.

And another favorite artist, Ms Gretchen Bennett! You had me long before 'hello'*. (just one of JM and GB's overlaps!). The first time I fell in love with Gretchen's art was her fawn. Gretchen was also shortlisted for the Stranger Genius. As Jen Graves said, "Her work is always about landscapes, and often about mapping, about being located somewhere and being absent from somewhere else." And I think that's the perfect way to describer her art.

I wouldn't normally go on and on like this but there are so few moments in life where artists really get celebrated for making good art. And both Jeff and Gretchen should be shortlisted for their fantastic contributions to Seattle (and beyond) art scene! You couldn't find two more humble and deserving people.

* Regina H. made this joke long before me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Brunch!

Since Dave was out of town last week for our normal Sunday brunch (every Sunday, 10:30 Smith), I skipped it. Also, since it was such a busy week, I did the impossible -- I didn't step into Smith for an ENTIRE week. I didn't even know I could do it. Sorry if you noticed a dip in revenue, Linda! I'll make it up this week.


After the Genius Awards, Sarah and I hustled to Poppy post-haste! A 9:00 table opened up for one of their preview dinners.

It was way bigger than it looked (at least to me) when it was all covered up. It looked really nice inside - clean, simple and retro-modern. I think Kerf did the cabinetry. Very beautiful. The table was set with Heath ceramics. Surrounding us was beautiful brick, sleek wood, laminate and ceiling tile that looked straight out of Boeing circa '61.

It felt comfortable but something was off. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's just the spirit of all the Elite alcoholics from days gone by still roaming the space.

I guess I didn't really know what to expect from Jerry Traunfeld. I never had the opportunity to get out to the Herbfarm. At Poppy, you are served a thali of the day. You choose a meat or vegetarian option. Then you receive a tray full of ramekins full of that day's food. Ours included potatoes, rice, halibut, carrots, chicken, chickpeas, peas, watermelon and squash soup. My favorite way to eat is tiny bites of everything, so I LOVE this. And a thali (with plenty of food for a hearty appetite) will run around $32. I bet that 2 people could each a get a thali and drink or two for around $100 and walk away feeling satisfied.

Thali-style service is common in India but a bit unusual in Seattle. I'm so used to family style that the thought of a tray of food -- just for me -- felt very decadent.
There's also a large bar that will be great for lighter fare and a bit less fussy.
I'm sure with Jerry's talent and reputation, Poppy will do great business and be an anchor as the North end of Broadway continues to revitalize.
Update: Okay, I was talking to another friend who went Sunday and I think I figured out what felt "off". For as beautiful as the food is, as nice as it was presented, I never had a "wow!" moment. I still remember the first time I had Joseph Margate's lamb. I think of Matt Dillon's pork (hey! keep it clean) at least a couple times month. From all I've heard about Jerry Traunfeld, I expected to have a huge crush a first bite. I'd go back for sure. But none of the food I ate will stick in my head like some other meals I've had.

Stranger Genius Awards

The 6th Annual Stranger Genius Awards! I've never been to one of the parties but they did a great job. Sarah, Rucker, Kim and I all went down for the VIP party (thanks Jody). Free Heineken from 7 to 9. Free tacos from Palace Kitchen. Free cupcakes from Cupcake Royale.

Was great to see Sonja who was up from Olympia. Makes me miss all the times that these three ladies would make me happy at the coffee shop. Now Mandie is officially a genius, Sonja has a big girl job (complete with sassy anchorwoman hair!) and Sarah is pursuing her design dreams.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thank you!

Aww dude, THANKS!

To everyone who came on down last night -- thanks so much! It was a super fun opening replete with Rainier and Funyuns. There was a DJ, public intoxication and afterwards, we rolled down to Mama's for dinner and tequila shots (thanks Bella!).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Say hello to Boat Street Pickles.

Renee Erickson has done it again. Bringing us more of her delicious take on French cuisine – this time in the form of a suite of pickled offerings. Simply called Boat Street Pickles, each product is pickled with the best produce (the secret to good pickling) at her restaurant, Boat Street Cafe.

Currently, she is making pickled raisins, pickled prunes, pickled figs and pickled red onion. In addition to the restaurant, you can purchase them at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, The Cheese Cellar (in Fisher Plaza), Watson Kennedy, Red Ticking (Madison Valley). They're around $9 - $10 a jar. Soon, you will also find them at Metropolitan Markets. There is also talk of pickled watermelon and pickled fennel. (Less talk, more pickled watermelon, please! In the meantime, I've seen it on the menu at Boat Street Cafe before.)

I was curious as to why pickles. Renee said that it's a great way to balance dishes. Using the example of pork belly (my favorite) with pickled fennel. “The acidity really helps brighten the flavors in the pork and also cuts through some of the fattiness.”

Royale with Cheese

Congrats to Cupcake Royale on their new(ish) friendship with Metropolitan Markets.

Click image to read full size.

PS -- the Royale with Cheese is tasty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dinner + Art

What a dinner! I got lucky and got to tag along with Jeffry to a great dinner. What made it great (besides food/drink/atmosphere) was to be around all these fantastic artists and interesting folks (gallery owner/collector/writer for wallpaper/scientist)! Can you imagine a dinner conversation when the art they make is as disparate as this?

PS -- Thanks Bill and Roy & Mike!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brian's Opening...

Our stay was brief (dinner plans) but the show was great!

Art, art and more art!

It's a busy week for openings!

Tonight, Jeffry and I are going to Winston Wachter to see Brian Murphy's opening.

Thursday, we're going to Wright Exhibition Space to see Century 21: Dealer's Choice.

foo dog image courtesy of james harris gallery.

Friday, I'll be at my opening (group show, "Aww Sweet, Dude") at Fancy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer Breeze...

My friends John, John and Thom invited me down to Amy & John's beautiful Redondo home. It almost makes commuting seem worth it. The weather was perfect. The crab shack was amazing. We nibbled on cheeses and drank champagne for hours while telling funny stories! Ellen surprised us from PDX. Then John bbq'd a delicious gyro feast -- including Amy's tzatziki sauce with fresh-from-their-garden cucumbers. A perfect way to spend 4 or 5 hours on a Sunday. I finally had to leave right as we watched the sun set from the beach.