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The weekend before the DC primary election there was this special art exhibition at The Fridge that was dedicated to Bernie Sanders. I attended the Friday night opening reception. While I was traveling via Metro I saw a woman who was obviously dressed for Awesome Con, which was held the same weekend. (I haven’t been to Awesome Con since 2014 mainly because of financial reasons but I was also turned off by the crowds. I attended the first year in 2013 and I liked the fact that it was relatively small and laid-back. The following year it had literally doubled in size so it was very crowded and full of very long lines. The entrance fee had also doubled in price compared to the year before. It was a letdown compared to that first year where I could go to any panel without having to wait in any long lines.)
The Fridge is located just a couple of blocks away from the Eastern Market Metro station and it’s located in an area of Capitol Hill known as Barracks Row because of the Marine Corps barracks located in that area. It’s a pretty trendy area full of upscale bars and restaurants. I took a photo of this really attractive mural that is located on the side of an Asian restaurant known as Hooshi.
I found The Fridge with no problem. Here are my photos from that event.
On the way back to the Eastern Market Metro I decided to check out this cupcake shop known as Sweet Lobby [ http://www.sweetlobby.com ], whose biggest claim to fame is that the owner of this place once won first place on an episode of The Food Network show Cupcake Wars. I decided to purchase a Smores cupcake to take home with me. I opened its pretty box the next day. I found that it tasted excellent. It had a graham cracker base with a chocolate cupcake that’s topped with marshmallow icing. It was so awesome! I’ll definitely keep this place in mind the next time I visit the Barracks Row part of Capitol Hill.
Last week I checked out a brand new event in Baltimore known as Light City. Basically it was a week-long event where there were art installations that consisted entirely of lights. Obviously it was the kind of event that could only be viewed at night. I learned about Light City on Facebook and I was awed by what I saw and photographed.
I passed by the historic Bromo Seltzer tower on the way from the Camden Yards Light Rail Stop to the Charm City Circulator bus stop.
I also passed by this Baltimore Ravens banner highlighting the fact that this season is their 20th anniversary.
I ate dinner at the Shake Shack but it was so unusually crowded inside that restaurant that I ordered my meal to go so I could just walk to the Inner Harbor and eat my meal on one of the benches. I was glad that the weather was nice and warm so I could do that. After dinner I walked around and took in all of the sites. There were these historic light poles that were placed in the same general area. The installation was known as In Light of History. They looked really pretty. There were copies of free newsletters that one can pick up. I didn’t read my newsletter copy until after I got home and I found out that they were there to mark places where the slave trade took place in Baltimore. That was pretty heavy to read, especially the vintage newspaper ads (which are posted on this website).
There was a vintage Baltimore City police car that was parked outside.
The outside of the World Trade Center had these animated lights that were really pretty.
There was live entertainment in various venues throughout Light City but people crowded the stage so much that I only got short glimpses such as the performance dance in the next photo.
The Inner Harbor was really crowded even though I went to Light City on a Thursday night. The Baltimore Sun reported that nearly 400,000 people attended that show the entire week. I’m not surprised, especially since the next photo shows how jam-packed the Inner Harbor was with people. (I can only image how crowded it got on the weekends.)
Everywhere I went there were all kinds of pretty lights everywhere.
There were echoes of Freddie Gray’s murder at the hands of the Baltimore police officers and the Black Lives Matter movement in this light display that was shown on the McKeldin Square fountain that featured people who were victims of excessive force by the Baltimore Police Department.
There was an area full of circles where people were invited to step on them. Generally the discs changed color every time someone stepped on them.
Next to that area full of circles was this tent that where a private party was held that was off-limits to the general public.
A group of Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers got in on the fun by putting up their own light display urging people to vote for Sanders. (The Maryland primary will be coming in a few weeks.)
It was an amazing night. I was only able to take in just half of what was going on in Light City. Based on the map I saw, it looked like the whole thing started from Rash Field all the way past the Inner Harbor attractions (Maryland Science Center, Harborplace, etc.) until it ended just west of Fells Point, which was a huge amount of walking. I wasn’t able to return to Light City to finish touring the rest of it due mainly to the fact that I have a lot of other things I needed to do (such as spring cleaning, working on income taxes, etc.). I hope they do it again next year. I would definitely take at least two nights to see everything and account for the huge crowds that this event draws. Next time I would pack a dinner, snacks, and drinks from home instead of battling crowds to order a meal at one of the many restaurants and fast food outlets in the area.
This morning I saw a few videos that I can’t resist sharing. The first one is an ad that aired on Saturday Night Live last night that’s totally hysterical.
Then there’s this hilarious mash-up between Donald Trump and the 1950’s sitcom The Honeymooners that’s totally sublime.
On a more serious note, here’s the latest threat from Anonymous to take down Donald Trump.
You can watch that one unfold in real time on Twitter under the #OpTrump hashtag.
I went to my first art show in 2016. It was the formal opening of the Winter Gallery Show at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland, which featured the art of Arthur Kwon Lee. Here are the photos I took at last Friday’s event.
Zip Cars was a major sponsor of that event and they gave away free pens.
Cupcakes were provided by Bake Sweet Love. I had the salted caramel one and it tasted really good. One can order their cupcakes online through its website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or blog.
The big hands-on art activity they had at that event was coloring pages from one of those adult coloring books that have become a big rage these days. (I can’t seem to walk into any store without seeing at least one adult coloring book on sale.) The next photo shows a work in progress.
I colored both sides of the page that I selected to color. Here are the results.
Here are the rest of the photos which included a guitar player who provided live music, some people socializing, and some of Arthur Kwon Lee’s art that is currently on display at ReCreative Spaces through March 31.
You can get this design on a number of products ranging from t-shirts to coffee mugs to laptop skins. Check it all out in my RedBubble shop.
Previous in This Series
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-posting old blog posts that I originally made for my online Artomatic account. I would initially write a rough draft using a HTML editor then do a quick copy and paste directly into that online blog. The only thing is that the people behind Artomatic tend to wipe the official site of old content whenever a new Artomatic event is announced. Since Artomatic is going on this year, I’d thought it would be cool to re-post some of those old blog posts that exist on my hard drive.
This entry focuses on the posts I wrote when I took part in the 2009 Artomatic event. Things were pretty good for me. I was in the process of recovering from my hip replacement surgery that I underwent in late 2008 but I had felt so much better compared to the year before. I took part in Artomatic that previous year even though I hobbled around on a cane. The organizers would put me in desk jobs for my volunteer shift whenever they saw me with my cane so I was still able to do the required three volunteer shifts.
Here are some of the posts I wrote that year.
Tired, May 21, 2009
I’m participating in Artomatic this year but I’ve been a bit on the disorganized side. After spending the past year dealing with a bad left hip, I’m now getting used to being in good health once again. Six months ago I had hip replacement surgery and it was a very slow healing process. This past Monday was my six-month anniversary of the surgery. The good news is that because I’ve made great strides, my doctor told me that I can now discontinue the physical therapy that I’ve been on since the day after the surgery. (Yes, it started while I was still in the hospital.) It was only last week when I felt confident enough to stop using my cane.
Well, in any case, I’m now able to do more than I did last year. My left hip was so bad that I signed up all of my required three volunteer shifts in the Events category because I was so unsure about being able to do either Installation or Deinstallation.
This year I signed up for one shift in each of the categories. My first shift was last night, which is still in the Installation phase. My main assignment was to patrol the 8th and 9th floors to make sure that people present were actually installing their spaces and to confront anyone who didn’t seem to be installing at all. Well, everyone who was there were doing some kind of installing so it was a pretty calm night.
At 9:30 p.m. I had to let people on both the 8th and 9th floors know that the building was going to close for the night in 30 minutes. Then I did the same thing at 9:45 p.m., except to tell them that everything was going to close in 15 minutes. After 10 p.m. I went to the 8th and 9th floors to make sure everyone was gone then I turned the lights off.
It wasn’t a hard job, although it required a lot of walking since I had to cover two floors. (There weren’t enough volunteers at my shift so a few of us had to do with two floors instead of the usual one floor per person.) I really did appreciate the surgery because there was no way I could’ve done this last year with my bad hip.
The only real snag came when I got off my shift because the Washington Nationals were playing at the stadium nearby and the baseball fans were crowding the Navy Yard Metro station. In any case, I’m pretty tired from last night plus I’m getting over this head cold that I caught last week–which is why I’ve been very slow about installing my own work.
I should sign off now and get some sleep.
Finally Finished With Installing, May 27, 2009
I spent most of Memorial Day weekend on finishing with the installation of my artwork. I finally finished on Monday, Memorial Day, itself. I was totally exhausted but at least I’m done.
I’ll update my catalogue soon.
What I’ll Be Exhibiting at Artomatic This Year, May 27, 2009
This year’s show will be a mix of new work that I’ve done while I was recuperating from undergoing hip replacement surgery last November and older work that I showed last year and will be making a return visit.
First will be the images of artwork that I haven’t actually showed at Artomatic before but I uploaded them online earlier this year because Artomatic was sponsoring a special Valentine Day’s show at a few buildings in the same neighborhood where this year’s Artomatic was being held and the entires were selected from those who had updated their Artomatic catalogues. I created and uploaded two small paintings plus one photograph just in time for the deadline but none of them were selected for the show. The two paintings will be included in my exhibit. (I left the photograph of the two dolls out of this year’s show due to space issues on my wall.) Neither one have been exhibited anywhere else prior to Artomatic. Here are the paintings:
Now for the artwork that is making a return to Artomatic this year. All of them are photographs and all of them were exhibited in last year’s show.
Here are some additional artwork that will be making its debut at Artomatic for the first time.
Here is a promo video I made for YouTube.
Dance Performances at Artomatic, June 13, 2009
Here’s a video I shot of two women who performed this dance routine under the name Hairloom.
I also shot this belly dancing performance by the group Sahara Dance.
Meet the Artists Night, June 13, 2009
I shot two videos of that night. Here is my exhibition space as it was set up on that night.
Most of the action took place on the 7th floor, where PostSecret author Frank Warren was having a book signing event. That floor turned into one large party complete with music and flashing lights. Here is what I shot on that floor.
The Sarah Palin Tribute Band at Artomatic, June 17, 2009
I shot two videos by this band called The Sarah Palin Tribute Band who, as far as I can tell, had made their performing debut at Artomatic but haven’t performed in public anywhere else since then. Here is the group doing the song “This Land is Your Land.”
And here is the group performing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Artomatic Musings, June 25, 2009
A few days ago I finally finished visiting all the floors and viewed all the artwork. How I did it was that I would devote a few hours a week to seeing art and I did only two floors at a time. I started with the 9th floor and worked my way down. Here are a few videos of what I saw, starting with the display of the winners of this year’s Peeps diorama contest that was sponsored by The Washington Post.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the first, second, and third floors.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fourth floor.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fifth floor.
Here are the ones on the sixth and seventh floors.
And, finally, here are the ones on the eighth floor.
I saw incredible amounts of artwork. I saw lots of art that I liked but there was so much of it that I can’t remember which ones I liked. I did pick up a bunch of business cards and flyers and many of these artists have websites so I will be spending the next few months with gradually visiting all their sites at my own leisure.
A week ago I spent the second of my three required volunteer shifts watching the loading dock. I was glad that I brought my iPod Touch and my puzzle magazine along because it was a bit on the dull side. The highlight came when I helped another volunteer with washing out the recycling bins using a hose then spraying them with Lysol. All I can say is that stale beer is an absolutely disgusting scent.
But I still can’t complain about having to do it because last year my left hip stopped working and I had to hobble around on a cane. My hip got so bad that I had to undergo a hip replacement then go through a few months of physical therapy. Compared to the hell that I went through for the past year, washing out recycling bins is no big deal.
I checked out the first ever Zombie Prom and it was a riot!!! I wore this evening gown that I had originally purchased for my brother-in-law’s wedding a few years ago and I even had my face made up into a zombie. It was pretty fun. Here’s a video I shot at that event.
There are times when I wished Artomatic had been held in the spring like the last few years. That’s because this year both the Artomatic 500 Cardboard Car Race and the Peeps Diorama Reception are being held this Saturday and I’ll be out of town. My family had booked a week in Ocean City months before Artomatic announced its show and it was too late to re-schedule. I will be back next Friday, although I’m not sure what time I’ll arrive. If I arrive relatively early in the day and if I still have energy, I’ll check out the Art in Fashion show later that evening. But everything is really iffy. [NOTE: I ended up not attending the Art in Fashion show because we arrived late from the trip and I was pretty tired by then.]
The Last Entry for 2009, July 26, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I managed to retrieve my artwork from Artomatic. This past Friday I served the last of my three required volunteer shifts. I basically helped with taking down the partitions in the middle of the floors. The shift I was on managed to finish with the few that were left on the 9th floor before taking down all the ones on the 8th floor. By the time we started on the 7th floor, our shift was over. When I left there was still a lot of work that needed to be done but I’m sure everything will be eventually cleared out.
On that note, I’m going to stop updating this blog for the rest of the year. While I enjoyed myself at this year’s Artomatic, the big disappointment is that I didn’t sell a single thing. I don’t know if it’s due to the poor economy or the fact that Artomatic was moved to the summertime or the fact that it was located near the Nationals ballpark or a combination of all three. But right now I’m up in the air as to whether I will participate next year. It really depends on what the organizers do and where the event will be located and my own schedule.
But I’m really disappointed that all my efforts have amounted to naught when it came to my own sales and even lucking out on meeting influential curators or other movers and shakers in the art world who could help me make it to the next level. I’m at the point where I’m questioning whether it was worth it at all.
I’m not going to make any decisions about my participation in future Artomatics until next year. In the meantime I’m just going to pursue other opportunities and hope they pan out.
Next in This Series
This year I’m participating in Artomatic in a different capacity. In the past I’ve participated as a Visual Artist where I had to volunteer for three different shifts. For this year I won’t have any of my artworks displayed mainly because of very tight finances and the fact that I didn’t sell anything at the last two Artomatics so I just couldn’t justify paying the $125 fee while I’m still financially struggling. (I’m hoping that things will improve for me at future Artomatics but who knows what the future will hold.)
I decided to participate as a Filmmaker even though my filmmaking experience is limited to YouTube videos. I had some footage that I’ve never shown anywhere (either online or in real life) before so I edited it into a coherent 24 minute film. I’ll write more about the film later once I get a firm date from the Artomatic organizers.
It costs $15 to enter one or more films (yes, you can enter more than one movie) if the total run time of the film(s) is less than 30 minutes and $25 if the runtime is more than 30 minutes. The Filmmakers are required to serve only one five-hour shift. I decided to sign up for the first volunteer shift (10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) on the first day of Artomatic just so I can get my obligation over with.
This year’s Artomatic is being held in an office building located in an office park near the New Carrollton Metro station. (Yes, it’s Metro accessible.) Here is what I encountered when I first arrived.
I saw that a formal ribbon cutting ceremony would be held soon complete with local officials wearing formal business outfits. I saw that the front doors were locked so I became confused as to whether I should stay outside and view the ceremony or continue banging on the doors in the hopes that someone on the inside would unlock the door. Another guy who was scheduled to serve the same shift as me kept on rapping on the front door until a passer-by on the inside opened it. We told the person that we were here to serve on the volunteer shift and she instructed us to take the elevator to the second floor then turn left.
We arrived at an office marked “Area 51,” which is the official name of the volunteer lounge where we were to sign in, hide our jackets, valuables, and other things we brought with us, and await instructions on where we would go. The manager on duty gave me an apron to wear (which was a black apron that had “Artomatic Volunteer” embroidered in white thread) assigned me the duty of wiping off the chairs located on the third floor in a place known as Area 5. On my way to the elevator, I took a photo of the ribbon cutting ceremony that was underway through one of the windows.
Unfortunately I wasn’t given any kind of cleaning supplies to clean the chairs with so I went to the women’s restroom, grabbed a bunch of paper towels, and dampened half of them. Then I walked around Area 5 looking for any chairs for me to wipe off. Since it was my first time inside the building, I had a hard time navigating my way around that area in my search for chairs that needed cleaning. Since the manager didn’t specify which chairs I needed to wipe, I decided to wipe any chair that I came across with the exception of ones that were covered in cloth. (In other words, I focused on the hard chairs.) I did my best with wiping the chairs with the moist paper towels and drying them with the dry paper towels even though the paper towels tended not to last too long so I had to frequently go back to the women’s restroom to get more.
Then there was the occasional chair that needed more than just water. The one in the next photo definitely needed either turpentine or acetone to remove the paint splatters on the seat.
I ran into another volunteer who was doing a walk around making sure that visitors don’t do something crazy with the artwork (like defacing it or stealing it) and we were talking for a while. When he asked me where my exhibition was I had to tell him that I was a filmmaker and he became interested in what movie I was showing. I explained it and he asked me to send him a message once I get a firm date, which was pretty cool! In fact, for the rest of my shift, I had fellow volunteers ask me about what work I had and they became very interested when I mentioned my film. (Which gives me and incentive to pick a couple of dates and hope that I can get them very soon.)
After I finished with finding all of the chairs and wiping them to the best of my abilities I went back to the Area 51 office. The manager told me to just chill out, pick a spot somewhere in Artomatic, and just hang around for the rest of my shift. So I did what she told me to do.
I initially found a reception area where those who attended the earlier ribbon cutting ceremony were given free food. The food smelled wonderful but I didn’t take anything because I wasn’t sure if the volunteers on duty were even allowed to line up for the free food. Besides, I had brought a lunch with me from home that I packed the night before and it was in Area 51. I managed to take a few photos of the event.
By the time I finished with taking pictures, I saw that it was getting close to lunchtime so I went back to Area 51 and picked up my lunch bag that I brought with me. Then I took the elevator up to the fourth floor and I found a seat where I could eat my lunch. After I finished I decided to take advantage of the order to chill out by starting to view all of the areas of Artomatic. It’s similar to how I viewed the last Artomatic exhibits in 2012. At that time I took the elevator up to the top floor and started viewing all of the art on that level. I would usually become exhausted after visiting each exhibit on that floor so I would quit for the day and return the following week where I would visit all of the exhibits on the floor that’s below the top floor and so on. For this year’s Artomatic I went up to the highest floor, which is the fourth floor. That floor had one big sculpture in the lobby.
Each floor in the Artomatic building has been divided up into numbered “Areas” based on separate wings that diverge from the lobby area. The fourth floor has two separate areas—Area 6 and Area 7. After I saw the art in the lobby I decided to begin my tour with Area 7 because it’s the highest numbered area. This area is divided up into cubicles and offices with each having art displayed on the walls. It’s like everywhere you go there was art. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are photographs of Area 7.
Area 7 is also where the Film/Video Theater is located. So I got a preview of where my film will be shown sometime in the future.
The big challenge with Area 7 is that there are so many cubicles that the whole area is like a maze. In fact it took me a while to find my way back to the lobby so I could use the women’s restroom and there were times when I thought I was going down a new hallway only to find that I had already visited that area. Anyone visiting that section definitely needs to pick up a map (that’s located on each floor in the lobby) and study it closely in order to get your bearings because it would be so easy to get lost in Area 7. By the time I finished with Area 7 I found that I still had time left before my volunteer shift ended at 3:30 p.m. so I decided to visit Area 6. Compared with Area 7 being jam-packed with cubicles, Area 6 is open and spacious. In fact it’s far easier to navigate your way around Area 6 than Area 7. Here are some photos I took from there.
By the time I finished with Area 6 I had about 45 minutes left before my shift ended. My feet were growing too tired for me to even consider viewing other exhibits so I decided to save viewing the other floors for future trips. I went to my car where I had my laptop locked away and retrieved it. I went back up to Area 6 on the fourth floor and sat in one of the chairs in front of the stage and spent the dwindling remainder of my shift doing web surfing using Artomatic’s free wi-fi.
When my shift was up, I went back to Area 51 on the second floor, turned in my apron, retrieved my belongings, and signed out. The office also had leftovers from that reception for the volunteers to snack on. The leftovers were these pastry puffs that tasted really good.
There was a party scheduled for that night but I wasn’t able to make it because I had already committed to attending a Halloween dance that was being held at my church. There was also Halloween events scheduled for the following night on Halloween itself but I wasn’t able to make it either because I had already planned on attending a Halloween party that was held at a friend’s house in my neighborhood.