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October 8, 2009

I have been given a gift.  A gift of time–and one of travels and wanderings.  I was not able to attend the opening celebration for Victor Raphael’s show at USC’s Fisher Museum, but today I celebrated anyway.  Today, I was allowed to go out and find art.

I thought I would find it in the studios near the architecture school, but there was too much talking and explanation going on there for me to find anything of interest.  I traveled past the studios.  A large banner that read “open” beckoned me.

I consciously and carefully opened the right door and then I was freed.  Pen and notebook and a small gallery-of-a-museum.  I  felt like my mom should have been there–pointing out this work and that one.  I could almost hear my sisters complaining about  being dragged to yet another museum in the background, but then a single breath and I was back–unwrapping the gift of Victor  Raphael’s Travels and Wanderings 1979-2009.  I was pulled into his rich metallics of “unique iris on canvas” and the playful  landscapes of “Central Park UFO” and “Painted Desert UFO”.  I walked past Raphael’s less ethereal-looking “Floating World  Series” featuring Japan.  I was “[called] to prayer” in the largest synagogue in Istanbul by the Muslim call to worship, but for  much of the last hour, I was in space.

I felt at home in the white boarders surrounding the 20 majestic framed Polaroids in Raphael’s “Space Field Series”.  I was sucked into tiny black holes and miniature milky ways featuring barely-there gold-flecked planets.  I stopped reading the plaques detaining the materials used and I just enjoyed the art.  I wanted to sit on the floor and just stare at the work on the opposite wall.  I thought that this might be in poor taste considering the group of senior citizens who were utilizing wheelchairs while we explored (the) space together.

I crossed the hall into Malibu, found the Getty Villa–the “place [Raphael] uses as a refuge and resource for peace of mind.”  I met up with diminutive Venus de Milo and a silhouette of Winged Victory.

Raphael believes that “you have to leave room for the exceptional and extraordinary.”  And sometimes, on a day like today, you also have time for exceptional and extraordinary art.

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photo taken by Hilary Scurlock

Ok, so it was my fault. I gave the wrong address–the Rabbit Hole gallery show was at 4423 W. Jefferson and I told the others going that it was 4223.  Instead, we all ended up at “Pancakes and Booze” at 4300 W. Jefferson.  The lighting was soft, the music was loud, and designer Timmery’s ’80s inspired bottle cap and repurposed-cassette-tape jewelry was the icing on the (pan)cake.

The gallery owners at 4300 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Los Angeles have figured out how to do a show just right, even though they are both filmmakers.  They search for local artists on Craigslist and always get over 100 responses from people vying for spots in their shows.  The art displayed at “Pancakes” was fun and relevant to the crowd there–hip and youthful.  Some of it was politically inspired, like the charcoal drawings that turned good ol’ Dick Cheney into a glasses-wearing mermaid.  Other pieces made you think, like the black, blue and white jokers that were almost kissing and were adorned by smaller versions of themselves. And the $5 entry fee we each paid because we were not on “the list” was completely worth it because of the do-it-yourself pancakes.  And yes, there was chocolate sauce.

We still made a brief appearance at “Rabbit Hole”.  I figured out why it was called that:  the art centered on a garish vaginal theme.  Can I say vaginal?  The lighting was too bright and the crowd was unwelcoming.  It was almost like being at a gynecological visit.  The artists, the gallery owners, and the bartender at “Pancakes” were as delightfully playful as the art, but at “Rabbit” the people who walked stiffly past us were, at best, uninviting.

The mood at “Rabbit” was not really my scene, even though the jewelry at this venue was more wearable.  The art was sparse and, though some of it was abstract–squiggly dark lines stretching across a pink dappled canvas suggesting the crux of femininity–other pieces were just gratuitous, like the photographs of three nude women who were smeared with paint here and there standing in beautiful, raw natural spaces with cardboard boxes over their heads.  It seemed like the artist just wanted to get a few girls naked and I, personally, took offense to that.  Luckily, I guess sometimes you travel down the rabbit hole and end up in a bed of pancakes and booze.

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Winter Break ’09

USC’s Fall Semester 2009 is over.  Oh yeah  🙂  I find myself at home, in Northern California–Modesto, CA to be exact, in a significantly colder clime than what I’ve gotten used to in Santa Monica.  Going home during a break from school brings with it the usual:  doctor appointments and a few trips to Merced, CA to visit my best friend and Noni, my little Italian grandmother.  Today (and tomorrow) I’m back to working with my dad, this time in a different capacity than my Administrative Assistant/ Foreclosure Specialist position that I held last year in my dad’s real estate office.  Today and tomorrow I’ve been given the opportunity to teach my dad’s real estate agents about utilizing social media sites and blogging in order to “go viral” with their brand.  I love teaching, today was great!

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