Inside 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self had no idea that this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — INSIDE — would turn out to be so much fun to interpret.  Here it’s only Sunday, two days after the theme was posted, and this is already self’s fourth post on the subject.

A long time ago, self bought this wooden painted angel from Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park (which has now gone out of business). Why she decided to frame it with something she pulled from the garage is a mystery.

In the Backyard, an Angel

In the Backyard, an Angel

Here’s something from Dear Departed Dad’s home island, Negros, in the central Philippines:  the old Gaston House in the town of Manapla has a stone fountain set in the middle of a circular driveway leading up to the main house:

The Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental, Philippines

And, can you believe it dear blog readers? — after an hour of most painstaking sifting, self found a picture that is quite literally of something INSIDE something else:  in this case, it’s a live lizard inside a glass case in the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

EATING CULTURES Call for Submissions/Bellingham Review’s Annual Contest

The EATING CULTURES submission deadline is coming up very soon (this Sunday, Mar. 9!); self only found out about it today, via an e-mail from Karen Llagas. Thanks much, Karen!

The Asian American Women Writers Association ( is accepting submissions for a multidisciplinary arts exhibition exploring Asian Pacific American (APA) food and foodways (See deadline above)

Artists are invited to submit works that examine the idea, literally and metaphorically, of food and feeding (or the lack thereof) in creating and negotiating personal, gender and cultural representations in both the APA community and U.S. mainstream culture.

Eligibility:  Artists working in literary and visual arts, film & video, sculpture, installation and multimedia arts of Asian Pacific American descent

Venue:  SOMArts Cultural Center, Main Gallery, San Francisco

Juror:  Dr. Margo L. Machida, Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at University of Connecticut

For more information, e-mail: or call:  (212) 433-0229

The deadline for Bellingham Review’s Annual Literary Contest is approaching:  BEFORE Mar. 15, 2014.  Here’s some additional information:

Three $1,000 prizes and publication in Bellingham Review are awarded for works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  Finalists will be considered for publication.  The 49th Parallel Poetry Award is given for poetry; Kathleen Flenniken will judge.  The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given for a short story; Shawn Wong will judge.  The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay; Joy Castro will judge.  Before Mar. 15, 2014, submit prose up to 6,000 words or up to three poems with a $20 entry fee ($10 for each additional entry); this includes a subscription.  Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Still More Threes: From the City of Glass

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge prompt is THREES.

This is her third post on that theme.

All the glass art is on display in the lobby of the Sheraton Seattle, downtown:

Crazy Quilt Teapot:  Richard Marquis, 1981

Crazy Quilt Teapot: Richard Marquis, 1981

Fritz Dreisbach:  Untitled from the "Mongo Series," 1982

Fritz Dreisbach: Untitled from the “Mongo Series,” 1982

Self doesn't know who did this massive glass arrangement, right next to the Short Order Daily Grill, is by ----?  TBA

This massive glass creation is by Dale Chihuly.  It’s called “Flower Form 2″ and self thinks it is really special, the only Chihuly she’s ever seen that is not exploding with color.  It’s right next to a sandwich shop in the Sheraton lobby.

After yesterday, when self went gallery hopping around Pioneer Square, she’s been entranced by this city’s profusion of glass displays.

If only she could bring home a vase or something of that nature, to remember this trip by.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Claremont, Day 2: Plan for the Day

The plan for today is to visit the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.  Self is so glad that son and Jennie were down for that, as she’s been wanting to visit the museum for a while, ever since she read a write-up about it in the Wall Street Journal.  The article focused on a new exhibit called “Becoming Los Angeles.”

The exhibit, which covers “14,000 square feet of gallery space . . . tells the city’s history primarily through a display of 250 objects and images, from canoe carvings of the Gabreleño-Tongya people to a Stratocaster guitar (As the first museum in the city, this one became the repository for family heirlooms, keepsakes and homely artifacts that might otherwise have been lost to history — and in that catch-all function alone broadened, from the outset, the definition of a natural history museum.”

There are “six major sections” that comprise “key moments in the Los Angeles story.”  There are “artifacts from the Indians who cruised the islands off Los Angeles in sewn boats and first greeted Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542,” and “a series of paintings” of the first “Spanish missions in California . . . by the British landscape artist Edwin Deakin.”

There’s more, lots more, but self has to check on her on-line writing class students.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Diane Arbus at the Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St.

Self has never been here before.  Even though, she understands after talking to Stella K, it’s a landmark building for photographers and visual artists.

Each floor is divided up into gallery spaces.  Self headed straight to the 4th floor, because that’s where the Diane Arbus photographs were.

Here’s what the exhibit consisted of:  Stark black-and-white portraits.

No, portraits is too kind a word.  All right, stark black-and-white dissections of personality, assembled by theme:

The Mysteries That Bring People Together

The most striking photograph in this group was of an elderly couple, both naked, seated in a living room, staring frankly at the viewer.  The bodies were unspeakably not attractive.  The caption read:  Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, New Jersey 1963.

There was also:  Woman and a dwarf backstage at the circus, New York City, 1959.  The woman (of normal height) and the dwarf were locked in a passionate embrace.  What self remembers best were the looks of absolute disdain being cast in their direction by three men standing at the edge of the frame.

Winners and Losers

There was a large close-up of a baby’s face, a loser at a Diaper Derby.

There was a portrait of a muscle man at a body building competition.  Self doesn’t know why this particular photo was the lowest-priced of all the photographs in the exhibit:  Only $8,500.

People Being Somebody

Self was most struck by the portrait of students at a Santa Claus School in Albion, New York.

Interiors:  the Meaning of Rooms

There were shots of movie theaters and derelict hotels and . . .

Self didn’t get everything.

Many pictures were set in lounges and pool halls.  There were more than a few photographs of transvestites, midgets, and female impersonators.

There was not one iota of sentimentality in any of the pictures.  Self was particularly struck by how wrecked the faces of the old people looked.  They looked like shells draped in clothing.  (In contrast to the many elderly women portrayed in utter isolation, reclining on beds while draped in stoles or mink coats, the nudist couple looked quite cheerful)

Afterwards, self wandered over to the books section.  Many beautiful books of Arbus’s work, some costing a hefty $100 (Oh, did self forget to mention that one of the photographs in the exhibit was listed at $90,000?).  Self bought the cheapest book, an oddity entitled Diane Arbus:  A Chronology.  A book about or written by Arbus, without one single photograph.  Instead, when she browsed through it, the book seemed like a diary of some sort.  Years mark off the sections, and within each section are passages like (for the year 1971):

She places an ad in the newspaper for the class she has decided to teach, posts a notice about it on the bulletin board of The Museum of Modern Art, and mentions the prospect to friends and acquaintances.

Do you know, the tone reminds self of — one of her own short stories.  Self likes to write in just such a blank, detached way.  In fact, if self were to pick out a story at random from one of her oeuvre, dear blog readers would detect the resemblance immediately.  Fascinating, simply fascinating.  Self wants to find out if there is a Santa Claus school somewhere in the Bay Area.

Stay tuned.

Community 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Christmas is only a week away!

Self cannot believe how fast 2013 flew by!

Thinking about “Community” a bit more.  It’s a perfect theme for the week before Christmas.

Still in connection with this theme, self will add more pictures from the last Filipino American book event she attended:  the Filipino International Book Festival, held in the San Francisco Main Library in October.

Linda Nietes, owner of Philippine Expressions, the quintessential bookstore, with Angela Narciso Torres, whose collection, BLOOD ORANGE, was this year's winner of the Willow Book Prize

Linda Nietes, owner of Philippine Expressions, the quintessential Filipino bookstore (L.A. based, but they do mail order), with Angela Narciso Torres, whose collection, BLOOD ORANGE, was this year’s winner of the Willow Book Prize

DSCN2574 DSCN2578

Photo # 2 is a solo shot of Linda Nietes standing next to a bulul!  A bulul is an Igorot fertility carving.  There was an exhibit of bululs at the Palo Alto Cultrual Center on Newell Road, several years ago.  Nine months later, a number of women who had attended the exhibit delivered babies.  It was an unusual enough occurrence that the event got written up in the local papers.

Photo # 3 is one of my All-Time Favorites:  Florante Aguilar and Fides Enriquez, the husband-and-wife team that brought us one of self’s favorite movies of the year: a documentary about “the lost art of serenade,” Harana.

Miami, FL: Visual Over-Stimulation

Miami is a visual city. Almost everywhere self looks, she sees sharp edges, interesting skyscrapers, flora and fauna, clouds.

There’s a brazen-ness about its architectural image — something like Chicago, only with a de Chirico blankness.

Today, self and The Man checked out the Lowe Art Museum, on the University of Miami campus.  There, in the Myrna & Sheldon Palley Gallery for Contemporary Glass & Studio Arts, self saw the most amazing, breathtaking glass sculptures by greats like William Morris.  Oh, she wanted to fall on her knees.

The museum guard told her, “If you like this gallery, you should see what they have in the special exhibit.”

The current exhibit is “Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard.”  Self had never heard of Stankard before — clearly a sign that, in spite of her restlessness and curiosity, there is much that she still needs to discover.  Because she never wanted to leave that gallery.  Honestly.  The glass there was so beautiful, it totally eclipsed anything she saw in Venice or the island of Murano.

In front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the verdant campus of the University of Miami campus

In front of the Lowe Art Museum, on the verdant campus of the University of Miami campus

After a lingering two hours (the rest of the museum was also packed with exceedingly interesting art.  Wow, self thought, the museum endowment must be huge!), self and The Man wandered out into the bright heat of mid-day, and the first thing we saw, moving across a field of vivid green, was a large brood of ducklings, being shepherded vigilantly along by the mother.  Self was reminded of a book she read about 30x to Sole Fruit of Her Loins:  Make Way for Ducklings.  Are they not adorable, dear blog readers?

DSCN3060 DSCN3062Stay tuned.

Layers: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self found this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge — challenging.

There was a spectacular cabbage photo on The Daily Post website, here.  There’s something a little horrible about it — like an alien pod head or something.

Nevertheless, and even though the past week has been the most exhausting week ever, self girded her loins and decided to see if she could post something.

Here’s what she came up with.  The first picture, of a rolled ham at the Negros Museum Café, needs hardly any explanation.

The second, the Mark Rothko painting, has just two layers, but hey that still makes it layered.

And the Jean-Paul Gaultier gown has many layers of what look to self like fish scales (BTW, that was a fabulous exhibit.  Self read a review of it in the Wall Street Journal last month:  apparently, the exhibit has only just now emerged in the New York metropolitan area:  It’s currently at the Brooklyn Museum)

Rolled Ham, Negros Museum Café

Rolled Ham, Negros Museum Café

A Mark Rothko at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

A Mark Rothko at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (closed for renovation — for THREE YEARS)

Gown from the 2012 Jean-Paul Gaultier Exhibit at the de Young

Gown from the 2012 Jean-Paul Gaultier Exhibit at the de Young

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Back in Time: Ateneo de Manila, Katipunan Road, Quezon City

Back to the old stomping grounds:  Ateneo, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Back to the old stomping grounds: Ateneo, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

The Ateneo Art Gallery is in the old Rizal Library.  The large artwork is by Marina Cruz-Garcia.

The Ateneo Art Gallery is in the old Rizal Library. The large artwork is by Marina Cruz-Garcia.

More from the Ateneo Art Gallery:  "With Love and Squalor," 2005 by Maya Muñoz

More from the Ateneo Art Gallery: “With Love and Squalor,” 2005 by Maya Muñoz

The Covered Walk to the Admin Building

The Covered Walk to the Admin Building

So much about the old campus has changed.  Self is grateful for the presence of Prof. Danilo Reyes, who is always the soul of courtesy when she drops by his office in the English Department.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.




Most Cryptic Souvenirs: SFMOMA, August 1997


Ticket stub:  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2 August 1997

The Exhibit:  Raised By Wolves (documentary photographs and videos depicting the lives of street children in American cities.  The artist’s name was Jim Goldberg)

At the back of the ticket, in self’s own handwriting, the following (written in red marker):

  • Is Dinner Ready?
  • Am I Being Watched?
  • Do I Know Everything About Myself?
  • Am I Looking Too Far Afield?
  • Am I an Ass?
  • Am I Too Soft?

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