Photos by Rita Leistner
Wandered through a powerful exhibition at the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf on the Southbank earlier this month. EcoCentrix: Indigenous Arts, Sustainable Acts included the work of more than 40 artists from the Americas, Australia, the Pacific and South Africa. Installed over four floors of the incredible space – which felt a lot like a loft complex one might find in DUMBO, Brooklyn - the exhibit housed a truly breathtaking range of photographs, digital media, sounds, texts and crafted objects. Much of it was interactive, and included an array of live performances and workshops that I was disappointed to have missed (I stumbled upon EcoCentrix on its last day).
What has haunted me since was a devastating installation on the top floor: The REDress Project, created by Winnipeg-based Métis artist Jaime Black. Red dresses were suspended throughout the dark, cavernous space – the effect was chilling and rather terrifying – the room felt filled with ghosts. Black conceived the piece in honour of the more than six hundred Aboriginal women reported missing or murdered in Canada. As much as I was spooked and uncomfortable in the space, the tragedy of these women was overwhelming such that I also wanted to stay with them a bit.
Less disturbing but equally resonant exhibits included Irma Poma Canchumani’s astonishing gourds, upon which she carves the storyboards for the films she then goes on to produce.
And these gorgeous kites from Guatemala - gigantic bamboo and paper creations made to be flown on the Days of the Dead, in which ancestors are allowed to revisit the world of the living.
The view from where I write:
Morning walk (not long after this photo was taken, the dogs caught a rabbit and I had to stand helpless listening to it scream as they tore it to bits & then ate it. Welcome to the Wild Wild West...
took hill's advice- nothing beats a good bankrobber flick when you're feeling broke- (a double-header of vincent cassel doesn't hurt either...)
Finally managed to make it to the New Enquiry salon over at Brazenhead - although I only intended to stay for a bit, mainly just to get my book fix & see Michael. However it was quite a party (Brazenhead is tiny, so it doesn't take many people to make the place feel like it's packed).
After exploring a bit - I could stay in there for days just gawping at all the books- I found myself blabbing away about Sherry & Narcotics to this kind soul named Ben- then felt like a complete ass when it turned out to be Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore - a book I've heard so much about & have been dying to read, but was waiting for it to come out in paperback (not just for the reduction in price, but the thing is like 600 pages long!!)
Anyway. You never know who you are going to run into at Brazenhead. I even stayed for some of the readings, which were great. And of course, spotted a few treasures (& the just plain titillating)...
(Rachel Hundert-publicist, Nina-Marie Gardner, Meryl Zegarek-publicist, Hillary Raphael-Future Fiction London Major Domo)
Fortunately, I happen to have a very hot publisher (in every sense of the word), which I think had a lot to do with our photo from the rockin launch party at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn making today's Publisher's Weekly...
Back in the day, I used to hang out at this place Rhone in the Meatpacking District, which has since gone down in flames (well, not literally…) Though many bad habits were picked up there, I also made some lifelong friends. The best was when Walter V and Jesse ‘The Scumfrog’ Houk were spinning—we didn’t know how good we had it! Fun times... until they weren’t so fun anymore.
Aside from Walter and Jesse, and a feisty cocktail waitress named Jill, my favorite person there was this guy Michael. He always stood in the same spot at the corner of the bar and didn’t say much. I figured he was a pretty tough customer--but after enough Saturday nights caught in the same maelstrom of mischief and debauchery, we became acquainted and then friends--and I was invited to his weekly Sunday potluck, dubbed ‘Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday.' In addition to the amazing food, which everyone contributed, Michael made one mean pitcher of Bloody Marys.
Those days, when my Saturday nights were either epic or harrowing--or a combination of both--Sundays at Michael and his wife Nicky’s were the perfect antidote. No matter what debacle I’d managed to bring upon myself the night before, Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday set me straight. The evening rambled from six-ish to the wee hours—sometimes I even stayed overnight, curled up on the couch.
Mostly, I was in awe of Michael’s books—every wall, shelf, surface of his place was jam-packed with the most amazing titles, first-editions, classics, kitsch—it was all there. He used to own his own bookstore, I found out, and one day he took me to a second apartment of his a block away, where the bulk of his books were kept. My first time there I grew dizzy and nearly had a bookgasm—he had so much great stuff! I could have lost myself in there for days and been perfectly content.
Flash-forward nearly a decade, Michael and his wife Nicky remain two of my favorite people on the planet, and that apartment filled with books has been decked out with bookshelves and stacks. Book fanatics can gain entry by appointment—or every Saturday evening, when Michael hosts the Brazenhead Book Salon. Bring a bottle of wine, and be forewarned—anything goes, and you never know who might be there…
The precise location is top secret—anyone interested in coming along to the Saturday Salon or making a private appointment, email me.
(and bring cash, because Michael doesn't take credit cards and you will find it impossible to leave there without buying some books.)
It just keeps getting worse... had word from Ayu last night--what they are going through--it's incomprehensible...
...it's really a nightmare, even in
Tokyo, almost all the food is gone, gasoline is sold out, but what
threatens us most is the radioactive contamination. That's terrifying,
and I am sure it's spread with wind, so we cannot control at all.
It's really hard to judge what is right and what to do for now,
especially since the radioactive contamination is invisible, it's
I am advised not to go out for the 10 days at least, but not sure what
will happen next, and more than 2000 people are dead in the Tohoku
region, it's so hard to believe this is real.
I heard praying works. Thank you very much for your kind concern and
thoughtfulness, Nina. I sincerely wish there is still some hope.
**********TO HELP, CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS