Thursday, July 31, 2014

After 22 years

In 1991, while I was living in wonderful Sonoma, California, my daughters Vanessa and Elise used to take ballet classes at the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance.

It was a great school, which (as most of these places are) back then was run mostly on love and was always short of funds, and running bake sales, etc.

I had this idea to create artwork of the students, and then hold a fund-raising art show somewhere in town. I figured that the parents would love to have a drawing of their little ones, and that would be a great way to raise funds for the conservatory.

The best gallery in town, Chevrier's Presidio Gallery, which was run by a very nice couple, agreed to host the exhibition and donate proceeds, which was a very generous thing.

And so I started to hang around the ballet a lot, getting permission from the parents, sketching the dances, both the little ones and the professionals, and after about a year, I had over a hundred works, of which I selected and framed about 50, and matted and shrink-wrapped the rest.

Opening night was sometime in early 1992.

The buzz had started earlier, and because this is Sonoma, the jewel of California's wine country and the home of its wine aristocracy, there was some interesting issues that arose from the event.

For example, the grandmother of one very famous wine family called the gallery a few days ahead of time, and informed the gallerist that she would like to pre-purchase all of the works where any of her grandchildren were the subject of, or part of (I had done many multi-people drawings). And so it happened that little Amber, who was actually a teen at the time, and a very good ballerina, happened to be in at least 20 different works (both framed and matted) and they all ended up with grandma, before the show opened.

This, unexpectedly, or perhaps predictably, caused a ruckus on opening night, as parents and families filed in to discover that some of the pieces where their loved ones were part of, had been pre-sold and thus gone.

The poor gallerist caught hell from a parent or two, although usually their child could be found in another piece.

The entire show sold out on opening night... every single piece.

A while back, while cleaning the studio, I discovered one piece that had never made it to the show... I recognized the little girl too.

To make a long story short, it is now heading to California, 22 years later!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sonya Lawyer at Flashpoint

“A Peace (of the Dream)," Sonya Lawyer’s exhibit of mixed media works at Flashpoint Gallery is getting a lot of attention in the critical press in the DMV (in other words the WCP and WaPo)...

Read Lou Jacobson's review here and Mark Jenkins' (who used to write for the CP and who thank goodness is covering the visual arts for the Style section) here.

And you can read my review of Lawyer's impressive work from 2008 here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Strathmore Fine Artists in Residence initiative

Deadline: September 8, 2014

There is not enough that I can say to recommend The Strathmore Fine Artists in Residence initiative (Fine AIR) to all emerging artists.... I have been lucky enough to have been a mentor twice, and can therefore testify what a boost to an artist's career this program is... and it deals and teaches so many diverse areas.... there is nothing even close to it in the DMV, maybe even the nation.

It was established to help cultivate local visual arts talent by connecting established professionals in all aspects of the field with up-and-coming artists.  Emerging artists will be in residence in the Mansion at Strathmore from January – August 2015. During this time, each artist will have the opportunity to develop an audience in the DC metropolitan area, perfect their craft, create and implement an outreach, educational, or special event proposal for Strathmore’s consideration, and premiere a new body of artwork, including a collaborative piece with one’s mentor, commissioned by Strathmore in a culminating exhibition.

The exhibition of new work will take place in August of 2015 and will reflect the artistic growth of the artist in residence.  Throughout the residency artists meet with a professional artist mentor for career guidance and artistic critique; attend career development workshops; and have the opportunity to teach, lecture, volunteer, exhibit or otherwise participate in Strathmore visual arts programming. Apply here:

The Strathmore Fine Artist in Residence Program is open to all emerging visual artists.  All media accepted.
Fine AIR Program Timeline
•             September 8, 2014   Deadline for application
•             September 15 – 18, 2014  Select applicants invited to interview
•             September 29, 2014   Notification of acceptance
•             October 2014   Fine AIR contracts finalized
•             November 2014  Incoming Fine AIR class announced to the public
•             January 2015   Official start of the Fine AIR program
•             August 2015   Exhibition of new work

A Residency at Strathmore includes:
•             An exhibition of new work at the Mansion at Strathmore, Summer 2015
•             Strathmore’s consideration of an outreach, educational, or special event proposal
•             A professional artist mentor throughout the residency
•             Career Development workshops and experiences provided by Strathmore
•             A stipend of $1,000 (Studio space and housing are not available with this residency)

Artist responsibilities include:
•             Mandatory attendance at a Fine AIR welcome event, scheduled meetings with artist mentor, and career development workshops provided by Strathmore.
•             Creation of a new body of saleable work, including a collaborative piece created with one’s mentor, to debut at the 2015 Fine AIR Exhibition at the Mansion at Strathmore.
•             Creation of an outreach, educational, or other visual arts event proposal for Strathmore’s consideration for future seasons.
•             Volunteering at “Discover Strathmore” and “Strathmore Arts Festival” events and by providing an artist demonstration, pop- up of artwork for exhibition and/or sale, or related artistic presence.
•             Volunteer to teach, lecture, and/or demo for the visual art department at least once during residency.  Strathmore charges admission for these programs and all proceeds go toward supporting the Fine AIR program.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gallery moves

WPG has moved to Georgetown and it is now right on the main drag of the Town of George!
Washington Printmakers Gallery
1641 Wisconsin Avenue, NW | Washington, D.C. 20007

Hours: Wed - Sun 12-5 pm

Wanna go to an opening this Friday?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The power of art

Remember the below drawing? It was one of the pieces that I made a few years ago for Mera Rubell's visit to my studio (see for the whole story).

This work is "Woman who thinks that the tattoo that she just got reads 'Bring Bush Back'" Charcoal and Conte on Paper. 14"x10." Anyway, every once in a while I get a nut job from either the vast right wing conspiracy or the even vaster left wing nuthouse sending me a nasty email as they get their perspective on the drawing from listening either to too much to some talk radio on the right or MSNBC and most other main stream media on the left (but I repeat myself).

I just got one today, and it still surprises me, but nonetheless proves the power of art to kindle responses, visceral or otherwise.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Winged Lilith

"The Winged Lilith" - Charcoal & Conte on paper. 8.5 x 5 inches, circa 2014.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Alper Initiative for Washington Art

Every once in a while I go the Kojo Nmandi show on WAMU to discuss DC area visual art stuff… and at one of those radio shows, many years ago, I was discussing the lack of interest, or better still, apathy, that most Washington area museum curators exhibit (pun intended) towards our DMV area artists.

In what was to become a battle cry of the ignored, I noted that “it was easier for a local DC area museum curator or director to take a cab to Dulles to catch a flight to Berlin, or London, or Madrid, etc. in order to visit an emerging artist’s studio, than to take a cab to Georgetown, or Arlington, or Rockville to do the same.”

A few years after American University’s gorgeous American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center opened, I updated that statement by noting that the Katzen had taken the lead (in a one horse race) in showcasing, exhibiting and documenting the DMV art scene.  The Katzen had become, and remains, the only major DC area art museum that pays attention to its own backyard!

The driver here is the Katzen’s energetic director Jack Rasmussen. This is a man with a deep connection to the DC area art scene that goes back many decades, and it was a brilliant coup by the AU leadership to hire him.  And I say that not only based on the Katzen’s interest and support of its own city’s artists, but also because Rasmussen has proven to the other area art museums that an intelligent combination of regional artists with national and international artists can be accomplished.

What does that take? I’m not sure, but the libertarian part of me suspects a certain degree of “taking the path of least resistance” on the daily workload of other local museum curators/directors, many of which are government employees; it is much easier to take a traveling exhibition, let’s say, than organizing one from scratch.  I know that I am generalizing here, and often that’s a bad thing, but in the multiple conversations that I’ve had over the years with several generations of curators from the Hirshhorn, NGA, NPG, the Corcoran and others (yes, even other local Universities) I’ve gathered both empirical and anecdotal data to back up that impression.

Any of those museums is welcomed to please prove me wrong!

And it is because of Rasmussen’s stellar leadership and guiding hand, and the Katzen’s record with its own community that I can report the following:
Left to right, Jack Rasmussen, AU Museum Director and Curator, Carolyn Alper, and AU President Neil Kerwin
Photo by Jeff Watts, American University
“… Thanks to a major gift from alumna and art advocate Carolyn Alper, BA/CAS ’68, to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, more resources will be allocated to the study and exhibition of Washington art.
Alper’s gift will establish the Alper Initiative for Washington Art at the American University Museum. The initiative will dedicate space for displaying the work of Washington artists, including more tightly focused, historical shows; development of space for archives of Washington art (available for both members of the public and AU students); an endowment to support more programming of events, gatherings, lectures and films; and digitization of AU’s growing collection of Washington art.”
According to AU Museum Curator and Director Jack Rasmussen: “Carolyn’s gift provides American University Museum the funds necessary to elevate Washington art to the place of prominence it deserves. All of Washington should be grateful as Carolyn has put her contributions where her heart is.”

Need more evidence? Five of the six exhibits on display at the museum through Aug. 17 feature Washington artists and collectors: Mynd Alive by B.K. ADAMS/I AM ART; Syzygy by William Newman; Continental Drift (Being Here and Being There) by Judy Byron; Passionate Collectors: The Washington Print Club at 50, with prints curated from Washington collections; and The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund: Second Act, with art by grant recipients from the region.
Thank you Ms. Alper, thank you AU and thank you Jack!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Opportunity for artists

My good bud Al Miner, who used to roam these regions, and who is also a kick-ass artist, and thus was included in the first volume of my books on DC area artists, is the juror for this show up in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Massachusetts.
Deadline: September 15, 2014 CALL FOR WORKS ON PAPER South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA, invites entries of original work that offer distinctive imaginative imagery using paper. Show dates October 24 - December 21, 2014. Opening Reception October 24 6-8pm Juried by Al Miner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. $1200 in prizes - all work must be for sale. Entry fee. Details: 781-383-2787 OR

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gateway CDC Receives $100,000 from NEA

Good news in this news release!
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced plans to award 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.073 million and reaching 38 states in the Our Town program's fourth year of funding. Gateway Community Development Corporation(CDC) is one of those recommended organizations and will receive $100,000 to fund Phase 3 of the Art Lives Here initiative. The goal of Art Lives Here is to boost vibrancy in the Prince George's County Gateway Arts District using a mix of short and long term projects to support existing small businesses, attract commercial in-fill, prepare for the next round of commercial development, and further strengthen our diverse and streetwise creative communities. In Phase 3, the initiative will launch a Creative Enterprise Incubator in the prominent retail space of the Artspace Artist Lofts on the Mount Rainier circle.

This year's Our Town projects demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community's success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character. Our Town funds arts-based community development projects in a way that is authentic, equitable, and augments existing local assets. Since Our Town's inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Creative Enterprise Incubator will convert a long under-utilized commercial space at the Artspace Mount Rainier Artist Lofts into a vibrant hub of activity to serve arts-related and retail businesses and provide a comprehensive set of resources that will enhance opportunities for the creative economy to thrive. Purpose-built for arts usage, the available space includes 4,000 square feet of open and flexible gallery storefront, room for a mix of private commercial artists studios and offices, a large classroom space, and a residents' gallery. Artspace will build out the space and a committed team of partners, artists, professional arts managers and business leaders will equip the incubator with a self-sustaining structure that brings a curriculum, services and resources to the Gateway Arts District's creative communities.

"Gateway Community Development Corporation demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community," said Chairman Chu. "Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike."

Art Lives Here (ALH) began with an NEA grant of $50,000 to Joe's Movement Emporium to focus on artist-driven strategies to support small business development in Mount Rainier's historic but distressed town center. In phase I (June 2012-June 2013) the initiative (a) engaged citizens through participatory public arts projects; (b) facilitated partnerships to place competitively-selected arts projects in under-performing storefronts to enliven  the space and attract locals and visitors downtown; (c) hosted Soup Nites where local donations were matched 10:1 to support creative business developments; and (d) established a downtown arts season and visibility campaign that swirled public art, social media, street marketing and multimedia into the stock of existing events.

Designed to progress in seasons and up the Gateway corridor, phase 2 was funded with $240,000 by ArtPlace America to Joe's Movement Emporium (July 2013-December 2014) to continue the visibility campaign developed in phase I and to extend it to neighboring towns in the arts district with projects based on the Mount Rainier pilot. In phase 2, the ALH initiative is: (e) hosting Better Block projects in Brentwood and North Brentwood near two active Redevelopment Authority sites; (f) competitively funding pop-up installations and performances woven into existing arts district events; and (g) working with local multimedia professionals to produce a series of artist profiles and spark a multimedia production micro-industry. ALH partners have also undertaken smaller scale urban design projects, including: (h) commissioning a series of 30+ place-making murals throughout the arts district; (i) locally producing boulevard signage for businesses and art spaces; and (j) public works projects around storm drains in partnership with the Department of Environmental Resources. Partners for ALH phase 2 include Art Works Now, Gateway CDC, Hyattsville CDC, Joe's Movement Emporium, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center, Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council, and Red Dirt Studio.

"Through the Art Lives Here initiative, our team has strengthened its economic, social, and political ties, already attracting more positive attention to the Gateway Arts District," said Gateway CDC Executive Director Carole Bernard. "With a new round of long-awaited arts-integrated facilities through the two-mile stretch of historic U.S. Route 1, our four large mixed-use development projects over the next 36 months will bring new density, new businesses and an anticipated increased interest in property in the corridor. At this exciting time in the arts district's history, we need to focus on our local businesses and creative communities more than ever and form collaborative infrastructures for new creative enterprises that will enhance opportunities for continued economic growth and sustainability."

"The City of Mount Rainier is pleased to partner with Gateway CDC on phase 3 of Art Lives Here," said Mount Rainier Mayor Malinda Miles. "By activating a commercial space within our business district and converting it into a creative enterprise incubator, our many local artists and businesses will receive critical resources and services that will help them grow and maintain their presence in a changing economic environment."

"Artspace has a long history of investment in facilities across the country that support the arts, and we are excited to work with Gateway CDC, the City of Mount Rainier and the communities of the arts district to pilot this new incubator," said Artspace Senior Vice President of Properties Greg Handberg. "Artspace is proud to be a partner on this NEA grant where we can activate our commercial space and be a part of helping our artist residents and other local businesses move their businesses forward in a community-focused initiative."

"The Prince George's County Redevelopment Authority has invested millions of dollars into the Gateway Arts District because we know what this area and the surrounding communities have to offer," said Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Howard Ways. "We are excited about this project and our partnership with Gateway CDC, and the County looks forward to being a part of the continued community revitalization strategies within the arts district."

The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Susana Raab all over America

Susana Raab's exhibit, The Invisible Wall: Photographs from East of the River, is currently showing in the neighborhood at the Vivid Solutions Gallery in the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington, DC. 
This ongoing work focuses on Wards 7 & 8 in Washington, which is separated from the rest of the city by the Anacostia River due to President Thomas Jefferson’s love of symmetry; he absolutely needed to make the District of Columbia a square. Of course, Virginia messed everything up when it seceded.  
The Washington City Paper's top notch critic Lou Jacobson previews it here.

She's also part of Cotidiano USA, which continues to make the rounds as a traveling show, and is currently exhibiting in San Antonio at the Mexican Cultural Institute (I almost ended up moving to San Antonio in 2006... remind me to detail that story here...).  It will be heading to NYC later this year. 

The exhibit, curated by the wonderful Claudi Carreras, consists of works representing the US experience of Latinos and includes the work of dear friends and photographers: Carlos Alvárez MonteroSol AramendiKatrina d'AutremontCaléRicardo CasesLivia CoronaHéctor MataKaren MirandaDulce PinzónSusana RaabStefan Ruiz, and Gihan Tubbeh.

And if that lists of surnames doesn't give a perfect example of the diversity of the people labeled as "Latinos," then nothing will!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Danny Conant “French Impressions” and E. E. McCollum “Shadow Series”

I know that the Fall is still a long time to go, but can't wait to see this show at Alexandria's Multiple Exposures Gallery inside the Torpedo Factory. It opens the day after my birthday!

EXHIBIT DATES                                 September 2 – October 12, 2014
OPENING RECEPTION                      Sunday, September 7, 2014  2 -4 pm
GALLERY HOURS                             Daily 11am – 5pm, Thursday 2 – 9 pm

E.E. McCollum will be showing images from his “Shadow Series.”  Strong graphically, his black and white images explore the sculptural qualities of the nude figure and the interplay of shadow and form. Set against a white background, the figure seems suspended, without context to guide our understanding, and we are left to encounter the body in its most elemental expressive elements of shadow, form and gesture. McCollum is a member of Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria,VA. He has exhibited nationally and has been published in Lenswork, PH Magazine and Adore Noir. McCollum lives in Northern Virginia.

Danny Conant's “French Impressions” images are influenced by her recent trip to the French countryside of the Dordogne region and an exhibit at the Musee d' Orsay in Paris.  The photos are often manipulated in Photoshop and other programs and printed on watercolor paper. Some are additionally colored with pastels and then the watercolor paper is adhered to a wooden panel and covered with encaustic paint.  Conant’s work has been shown both nationally and internationally via galleries and Sotheby’s and Art Net auctions. Two books on Tibet have been published and her work has appeared in magazines and photography books.  She is a member of Multiple Exposures Gallery in Alexandria and lives in Maryland.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The DMV at AU this summer

Exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center this summer focus on the art and artists and collectors in Washington, D.C. Exhibits open June 14 and run through Aug. 17.

Passion for Prints
Passionate Collectors: The Washington Print Club at 50 features almost 150 prints selected from Washington collections. The collection reveals a diversity of techniques from relief printing by celebrated masters Durer, van Dyck, Carracci, Pissarro, Picasso and Chuck Close to monoprints by contemporaries Richard Estes, Ventura Salimbeni, Thomas Frye, Adolphe Appian, Reinhard Hilker and Keiko Hara. Among the contemporary works is a print involving buckshot, and one created with 4,225 small black dots.
“Viewers will be surprised there are no dominating genres or periods or artists represented in this show, but rather a huge range of works that are national, international and local,” said AU Museum Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen. “We share our location in the nation’s capital with most international diplomatic missions to the United States. Washington is a community with diverse interests and affiliations and may well provide the most diverse group of collectors in the country.”

The show will also feature “Midwest Matrix,” a film study of post-World War II printmaking to present, produced and directed by Susan Goldman.
The Washington Print Club was established in 1964 as an independent, nonprofit volunteer organization consisting of both collectors and practicing artists. This biennial exhibition celebrates the club’s 50th anniversary.

Lives Devoted to Art 
The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund: Second Act features paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Richard Cleaver, Emilie Brzezinski, Fred Folsom and other artists who received grants totaling $670,000 over the last 13 years from the Bader Fund. Legendary Washington art dealer Franz Bader and his wife, Virginia, started the fund, which continues to support the arts long after the couple’s deaths in 1994 and 2001, respectively. The fund committee awards grants for artists 40 and older who live within 150 miles of the U.S. Capitol.
The first exhibition of Bader Fund artists took place a decade ago. “Second Act” provides another viewing of the range and quality of work supported by the grants.
Franz Bader was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1903. Bader and his first wife, Antonia, were fortunate to escape Vienna after the takeover of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, arriving in Washington in early 1939 with few possessions and little money. But, as is true of so many émigrés from Hitler’s Europe, their arrival was America’s good fortune—Washington's, in particular. Working at first with the Whyte Bookstore and Gallery and then, from 1953 to 1985, at his own art and book shop, Bader was a pioneer and creator of a vibrant art scene in his adopted city.

Personal Drifts of Culture
Continental Drift surveys the work of Washington artist Judy Byron, and invites the viewer to consider the visual and auditory environment that informs identity. The exhibition acknowledges the artist’s drifting of visual influences between three specific countries: Brazil, China, and Ghana. From 2010 through 2012, Byron traveled abroad and photographed details of sidewalks, toys, products, netting, foliage, clothing and detritus. Images from her travels formed the point of departure for 18 color pencil drawings.
Accompanying the drawings are the voices of three women from Brazil, China, and Ghana who now live in the Metro D.C. area and have established roots while maintaining strong identification with their places of birth. Three smaller drawings — Memories of Home — are based on photos Byron took of objects in their homes that remind the women of the homes they left behind. The sound of ocean waves lapping the shore can be heard throughout the exhibition space.
Rasmussen observed:  “I don’t think any artist has communicated so beautifully the interaction of community and environment in the construction of culture.”

Nature’s Fleeting Beauty
Syzygy, William Newman’s series of 19 oil paintings and digital images, and two metal sculptures, is a vibrant investigation of temporality, subjective freedom, and natural splendor. The photographs, photorealist paintings and stainless steel sculptures present striking natural forms and places holding personal resonance for Newman, including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and the cosmos.
For his sculptures, Newman had natural artifacts from his farmhouse in Shenandoah County duplicated in welded, polished stainless steel by craftsmen in Beijing. The resulting forms gracefully blend elements of abstraction with Newman’s mastery of representational expression. 

This tactile sensibility is also evident in Newman’s conjunction of paintings and photographs. The central subjects of his paintings are round forms from nature, which Newman and his assistants meticulously recreated from photographs that he took himself or appropriated from NASA’s public archives. Newman then conjoined the objects with photographs using rare-earth magnets. Photographs that took just a click to create and paintings that took years to make join to represent nature’s fleeting beauty, its life through memory and desire, and its timeless eternal renewal.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Like the poet said...

"Cuando los habitantes de un pueblo emigran, no son ellos los que debian emigrar, sino sus gobernantes."

"When the people of a country emigrate and leave their country, it isn't them who should leave their country, but the people who govern their country"

Jose Marti

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Community Gateway Arch

Mayor Vincent C. Gray will join representatives of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) in the dedication of the Community Gateway Arch on Friday, July 18, at a twilight ceremony, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The program will take place outside the Unity Health Care Parkside Health Center facility, located at the corner of Hayes Street and Kenilworth Terrace NE.

"This new work of public art celebrates the District's cultural heritage," said Mayor Gray. "Artists, community members and the District government collaborated on the new installation, which represents the creativity and aspirations of Ward 7 residents."

The Community Gatewaysculpture was designed by Washington Glass School uber artists Michael Janis, Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers, who worked in collaboration with Ward 7 artist apprentice Bill Howard and numerous Ward 7 community members and stakeholders during the early phases of fabrication. The design of the public artwork was intended to mark the entrance to the Kenilworth / Parkside section of the city.

Washington Glass School was selected through an open Call to Artists and panel process led by the DCCAH, through the D.C. Creates! Public Art Program selection committee, in partnership with the D.C. Primary Care Association (DCPCA), the Unity Health Care Foundation, the Ward 7 Community and ANC 7D07 Commissioner Willie H. Woods. Central to the selection of the public artwork and the community input process was the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative, led by artist and community arts advocate Wanda Aikens.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scam Alert

Recently received a scam phone call from a heavily accented dude calling from the "Windows Security Center" -- this is a classic cold call scam -- the phone that showed up as coming from was (325) 477-7355.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award

The deadline for 2015 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award applications is 4:30 PM on Thursday, July 24, 2014.

 The funding categories available for 2015 include:
  • Non-Classical Music: Composition
  • Non-Classical Music: Solo Performance
  • Playwriting
  • Visual Arts: Crafts 
  • Visual Arts: Photography

All applications must be submitted online. Applicants can click here to access the application, guidelines and technical assistance resources. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The fly and the wedding ring

I've transited through the Suez Canal several times, and as anyone who has done this knows, the place is often abuzz with tons of very slow-flying tse-tse flies, ready, willing and able to bite anyone who stands still for more than a nanosecond.

One time, as we moved slowly through the Suez, I was skylarking and enjoying the view of the fishermen and assorted sights in the canal, and I was also screwing around, sloshing my wedding ring in my mouth... I know, I know...

Suddenly one of those giant-sized, slow-flying flies buzzed my face as it tried to land on it... I slapped at it, dislodging my wedding ring from my mouth and sending it hurling through the air.

In one of the great recoveries in modern history, the same hand that had slapped at the fly, accelerated its downward arch, and in a magnificent affirmation of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink theory, snatched the ring in mid flight and saved it from perpetual burial in the murky mud of the canal.

The sailor standing next to me and who had witnessed the whole event, looked at me, shook his head, and then continued to relax by looking at the nearby shore while chewing on a toothpick... "Wife would have never believed the story if you hadn't snatched that puppy in mid air," he commented. "Fear is a powerful motivator," he concluded, still chewing on the toothpick and offering me one.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Proof that aliens are amongst us

This dude is clearly a Ferengi trying to disguise himself as a human, note the two uneven set of ears. I betcha that if Rachel Maddow had rubbed his ears... well, you Trekkies know what happens when Ferengis get their ears rubbed... cough, cough...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Separated at Birth?

On the left from CNN (but I repeat myself, cough, cough) is Anderson Cooper, and on the right (cough, cough) is Univision's Jorge Ramos discussing the immense disaster currently going on at the border.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Congrats to Argentina

So the final for the World Cup is set: the Germans from Europe vs the Germans from South America... Cough, cough...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

"Deutschland, Deutschland über Brazil"

Was that the real Germany versus Brazil game or a replay of the last Super Bowl?

The Teutons went all Seahawks over the Brazilians... What an ass whooping!

At least other countries, when they lose, they get to BoweBergdahl it out of the country!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Rita Moreno at the NPG

This Wednesday, July 9 at 7 p.m., Rita Moreno will be at the National Portrait Gallery for a special presentation.

Moreno, actress, singer, and dancer, is the only American entertainer of Puerto Rican ancestry to have won the four major annual American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony (EGOT), as well as receiving the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement award. Moreno will speak about her life and career with Taína Caragol, curator of Latino art and history at the Portrait Gallery. Attendees may also have the opportunity to meet Ms. Moreno at a reception at 6 p.m.

Moreno is also represented in the special exhibition “Dancing the Dream” on the first floor.

Tickets for the program start at $15 and can be purchased online at or through the Smithsonian Theaters Concessions and Attractions ticketing line at 1-866-868-7774. Tickets must be acquired in advance.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Alexandria Art Market

Your monthly dose of art in the heart of Del Ray.

Held on the 2nd Saturday of the month from May-October in Colasanto Park (2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria). 

Shop from local artists (painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, glasswork, woodworking and more) from 10-4pm, rain or shine; enjoy live music from 12-2pm. 

Musical performances by Mike Durham (8/9/2014), Janna Audey (9/13/2014), Snakehead Run (10/11/2014). Details at:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Artists' Websites: E.E. McCollum

I really like E.E. McCollum's Cocoon Series, but check out all of the work by this DMV area talented photog in his website; he is represented by Alexandria's Multiple Exposures Gallery and has a show coming later this year.

Check out his work here.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 4th!

Today I'm going to thank my parents who had the foresight, strength, and courage to escape the Castro brothers' brutalized island; leave everything behind; leave everything they knew, and raise me as an American.

I am grateful to them.

I am so proud of this nation, and so lucky to be Cuban by ancestry, but American by the grace of God.

Happy birthday USA!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship program

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship program is a vital source of funding for the visual arts and art history in Virginia.  VMFA is committed to supporting professional artists and art students who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in their chosen discipline and, as such has awarded nearly $5 million to Virginia’s artists since the program’s creation over 70 years ago.
The VMFA Fellowship program was established in 1940 through a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Offered through VMFA Statewide, Fellowships are still largely funded through the Pratt endowment, and supplemented by annual gifts from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic, Jr. Scholarship Fund.  The Fellowship program has a long and established history of supporting Virginia’s artistic talent and has helped to further the careers and studies of many distinguished individuals, including recent recipients Rick Alverson of Richmond, Michelle Erickson of Hampton, and Megan Marlatt of Orange.
VMFA offers $8,000 awards to professional artists, $6,000 awards to graduate students, and $4,000 awards to undergraduate students.  Applicants may apply in the disciplines of Crafts, Drawing, Film/Video, Mixed Media, New/Emerging Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Art History (graduate students only).  All applicants must be legal residents of Virginia and student applicants must be enrolled full-time in degree-seeking programs. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by distinguished jurors and awards are made based on artistic merit.  The deadline for Fellowship applications is Friday, November 7, 2014. 
We ask that you please encourage interested students and professional artists to apply. Full eligibility criteria, an application, and a printable PDF flyer can be found at