Friday, December 18, 2009

Does God Love Gaga?

I have had this trouble lately. Shedding guilt. There are multiple times throughout the day where I stop myself and wonder, does God still love me? I know it sounds foolish in our contemporary age of no religion, no belief, no accountability, but it still happens to this Catholic raised man.
Regardless of your belief system, American culture has bombarded us with images, speeches and commands of something bigger than ourselves. Honestly, I think we make any of our god(s) too small. Shouldn't the god(s) be bold, be courageous and fight for something they deeply love? I use Gaga as an example of many of the visual artists I love and connect to because I question my following of her constantly. (Most contemporary artists are like that, pushing the moral edges of our culture.) She prances around mostly naked and talks about sexual acts openly (while encouraging others to participate). She is not a moral compass. Nor has she ever claimed to be one.
This is my point. None of us are moral compasses, but we can help each other connect to our lives. I am pretty sure Gaga has a belief system (raised Catholic in NYC) and she has shed parts and kept others. Yet, I have seen that we have disconnected from our careers, our passions and our culture. We have created our own realities to sit idly by and watch it fall apart around our bubbles. Most world religions mention something about seeing their particular god in one another. Maybe instead of asking if God loves Gaga, we can spend more time loving each other (doctors, lawyers, artists, toll collectors, accountants, religious people). Because, I definitely heard Gaga say "I love you all" in a room full of people who all felt like little monsters.

This was posted a couple days after I had posted this entry: Huffington Post article, "God Hates Lady Gaga."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Single Man, Directed by Tom Ford

I have wanted to see the adaptation for Christopher Isherwood's novel, The Single Man ever since I knew that Tom Ford had bought the rights. The film was impeccable. It was patient and tedious. The film is pregnant with sorrow and joy. It everything that one would expect from a true artist of fashion and style. Ford was perfect to direct such a story of loss, especially with a man losing his husband of 16 years. They are trying to market this as universal love, but I think it circumvents love. It is gay. At the core, the most beautiful core, it is gay. Why are they so afraid to say that? The professor, played by Colin Firth, is in an excruciating, relentless pain of losing his love. They fought so hard to make the relationship so healthy. Go see it. Go sit and enjoy the awesome visual glory of The Single Man.

Mel Bochner

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Golden Ticket.

If anyone has been in contact with me in person, they have probably heard me mention Lady Gaga at least once (if not more). Most people toss her aside as just another pop-star wannabe, seeking attention.

Nonetheless, I have seen her as much more. I have seen her as a visual artist who is pushing the limits of a culture barred by boundaries. Especially, in these uncertain times, we need people, art, and music to shake us up and wake us to our reality. Instead of a spectacle, I see much of life in her music and performance art.

I have had quite a time getting access to a ticket for her show in San Francisco (even though she made it quite clear on Ellen that she would want anyone of any economic class to see her live). I have had the ticket for barely four days now and I have been trying to sell it. For multiple reasons, the 100 or so dollars I would make from the ticket would relieve (at least temporarily) the stress of life. Yet, I explained to my father the multiple things going on my life, the stress of moving, the competition of the art world, my own personal struggles and beyond. He listened and just simply asked, "what do you need right now Gregory?" I said, really Dad I need a few bucks so I can keep this ticket. I know, I know. A few bucks for a fucking pop concert. There are so many things wrong with it. I get it.

Yet, there are so many things I believe that are right for me. If anything will make me a more well-rounded art critic, supporter and aware person. I think it is in my blood. Something about Lady Gaga (Stefani) has fascinated me since 2007. I listened to her and something in my heart resonated with her. I stopped many times and thought about all the war, poverty, inequality, politics, Obama, democracy, and hatred in the world. All I could think about was that she had a part of my heart. She understood the years of abuse, pain and suffering that I felt when I was growing up as a young confused boy. So few people in my life have had to struggle with the questions of sexuality and longing to feel normal. So few of my "social justice" friends have had to not only fight the "system" but also fight the "system within." I asked questions that few people ever asked at a very young age, some that I feel Lady Gaga actually tries to give an outlet to.

It isn't just about who I wanted to have sex with or a relationship with. It was about who I wanted to be. It was about my dreams and aspirations to help this country and world be a better place. Most people will scoff at this thought. It doesn't matter. Once art touches someone in a certain way, it has already done its job. That is something no one can interrupt. That is between art and the viewer. For me, Lady Gaga interprets something through music, fashion and dance that touches my inner longing to be Gregory. I can't explain it fully. For most, it is silly. For me. it is touching, beautiful and mysterious. Let it be all of them. But, for now, my father has given me a gift that I never thought he would give me. The opportunity to keep that silly piece of paper that will allow me entrance into the place she will sing. The gift to dance like no one is watching. The gift to sing like no one is listening. And the gift to just be me.

And it will be a monster of a time, let me tell you :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I really do get fascinated by the connections of life. Today, I went into the museum early and wandered through our galleries. I continue to stand in awe of the collection that the de Young has acquired. It is unique and diverse and yet the curators have been able to tie it together. At least, in the case of our new exhibition on Amish quilts and our new acquisitions. It was mentioned in the Amish exhibit that there is the simplicity of many modernists artists. Nancy Ewart of the SF Examiner wrote more about this connection noticed by the collectors of the quilts:

"On first encountering Amish quilts, the Browns recall, “We were amazed by the bold graphics and striking colors, the very opposite of what we had expected. And we couldn’t get over the way some quilts seemed to anticipate abstract artists such as Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely, Frank Stella, Mark Rothko, Sol LeWitt, and Ellsworth Kelly, among others.” Looking at modern art has prepared us to appreciate their bold designs yet we should not look upon the quilts as simply works of art. They were made to be both aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian and, yet, still had to adhere to the code of the Ordung, an oral tradition of religious rules governing Amish social customs and moral life."

I would argue the simplicity and color combinations are also used by Keith Haring (just not as noticed by American Museums). After I experienced the quilts, I went to our recent acquisitions gallery and I was faced with pieces from Donal Judd and Sol LeWitt. I am enthralled with the simplicity and bold combinations of color. There was a quote by Robert Shaw, a curator, that nailed the experience of the art. The Amish women came way before Le Witt, Albers or Rothko. They were not seeking anything, they didn't have to strip everything away from their lives. The quilts are a reflections of their community, their lifestyle and their quiet separation. As I continue to strip away the baggage I carry from growing up in Middle America, I was given a quiet reminder of what living simply is all about. Go and stare at a quilt for a while. It takes it away, even just for a moment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day With(Out) Art- World AIDS Day

A great website the raises consciousness on the visual arts and HIV/AIDS

Day Without Art, December 1, 2009 - From The Body Website

Day Without Art (DWA) began on December 1st 1989 as the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and inspire positive action, some 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, shutting down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS. Since then, Day With(out) Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS Service Organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gaga- Bad Romance/ King Tut Gets So Fresh and So Clean Clean

Wow...Madonna, Queen, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, NYC Fashion 2010, seriously, using all the best in one...she is a movement of pop history if nothing else.

King Tut Gets 5 Year Renovation Project in association with the Getty Museum Institute

Private Collectors in a Public Space - Old News?

A debate has swirled around a new show opening at the New Museum in NYC.

From the article, NY Times:

One day in the mid-1980s, Dakis Joannou, a Greek Cypriot industrialist, was exploring the art galleries of the East Village in Manhattan when he came upon a basketball suspended in a tank of liquid. Captivated, he invested $2,700 in “One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank” by a little-known artist named Jeff Koons. It was, he said, as if a whole new world had opened up to him.

Twenty-five years — and 40 Koonses — later, Mr. Joannou is considered one of the most important contemporary art collectors in the world. And the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan is preparing to showcase his vast collection in a three-story exhibition, with Mr. Koons, now an art superstar, as the guest curator.

My Opinion: It seems like no one in the contemporary art world trusts anyone's judgment. I will have to admit I am still quite naive to how this realm of the world functions. I am learning, but optimistic.
I for one, have followed Jeff Koons and his work. I love it, it is fresh and provocative. It is fun and joyful. I think it would be any public space's dream to be able to have the it be filled with his art and his perspective. I think the critiques are valid and needed, but the harshness and narrowness are unnecessary. The dissent seems more like jealousy than constructive criticism.
The majority of the world's art is owned by someone or institution other than a public gallery. It is ludicrous and harmful to our culture if we would limit such items from being shown. I think the real debate should lie in the corporatization of art. Maybe, Bank of America should not be allowed to curate its own shows for public spaces? It is a thin line the museums are walking, but I trust their judgment. The New museum doesn't seem like there are trying to hide anything from us and who wants a larger-than-life vibrant pink dog to be hid from the public:)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on the Economics of Art

Article in the New York Times regarding the up-coming Sotheby's auctions.

Review - American Idiot

This past Sunday, I was in the audience at the Berkeley Repertory Theater for the rock musical, American Idiot.

I was skeptical of Green Day's music and the ability of the story to be coherent. The starting chords were startling and loud with a screaming rendition of "American Idiot." The passionate lead desperately shouting, "I don't want to be an American idiot" reminds me of the opening desperation and angst-filled "Rent." But, the story and show hit close to my cultural experience in the United States. I think it was the first time I felt musical theater critique our media-obsessed culture. Yet, I have not found any solutions to all this negative commentary.

Lead by the director of Spring Awakening, Michael Mayer, this fresh rock musical might go as far as Broadway. I enjoyed the staging and choreography immensely. It was an awe-inspiring set with television sets and media pasted. It was larger than life, much like the media Green Day critiques.

Overall, I thought it was a great package with a few missing story threads. It reminded my friend of Julie Taymor's Across the Universe, visually and musically appealing, but a lacking story line. I think it will go through a couple refreshers before Broadway. The message isn't new, but I don't think we can hear this one enough.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Art is Change - Tory Foster

An article was written by Tory Foster, Graduate Student in Planning at the University of Arizona, regarding public art as a means for social change. It was published in MIT's planning journal, PROJECTIONS, Volume 8.

ART IS CHANGE: Public Art as a Means of Ecological Healing, Tory Foster

*You will have to google it to find the download of the 12 page article. I was unable to make a hyperlink for the journal. It is a great read. Think, then act with your conversations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have had a difficult time focusing on topics for this blog. I have decided that this will merge into my personal/business/art happenings blog. I think it is fair to say that I am one to take cross-sections from all the spheres in life and interconnect them.

Currently, I am interning at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. I am technically under Education with Public Programs. I do a lot of work with our social network outreach (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter) and have recently done some video work with our brand new FlipVideo. On Friday nights, we host Cultural Encounters (5-8:45pm). Come check it out.

I think my equally challenging and rewarding job is with Sports Basement. I really believe in this locally-owned and operated company. We offer really great equipment, clothing, active gear for great prices. I think we are a really helpful and friendly staff with an eco-minded motto. Come into one of our stores and let me know how your experience went.

These are currently my two communities that I am trying to be more intentional within by choosing to be kind, being authentic and challenging myself to be a better person. It is a great privilege to be able to stop and think about how to be intentional in this country. My life goal is to make the choice of being intentional, not necessarily a privilege or an isolated event, but a community standard.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lady Who?: Glamour and the American Identity

You may wonder why I would spend my time writing about a new pop sensation and our American identity? It is a legitimate question with all the inequalities, struggles and violence we face each day that might carry more moral weight than others. But, I think there is value in stopping and discussing what Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta)brings to the American discourse.

We spend our days in the United States staring at some type of screen. We don't really have a choice but to stare at our work computer, our smart phone, our TV or the screen in the grocery isle. These screens carry over 25, 000 images a day to our eyes. Most of them are trying to feed you the idea of your American dream. We have all seen where that fictitious dream got us. In comparison, there is a popular and talented vocalist who is commenting on these lies right underneath the catchy dance beats.

She is about glamour and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in the music/fashion/art industries. I realize all of this. Yet, I believe that Lady Gaga is really teaching us all a lesson. In her 2008 album, titled THE FAME, she used different perspectives critiquing and also obsessing over celebrity. We have seen this motif often in recent history (Madonna, Andy Warhol). The hypocrites of our time: desiring fame and yet loathing at the same time. Some may say that is where we should stop with this conversation. It goes deeper. I think Lady Gaga is actually mocking herself in all of this, through singing about the extremes of what celebrity can be. But, that is what our American identity is about, the extremes of everything. When "the pursuit of happiness" is blurred with the idea of the pursuit of everything at whatever cost. Our pursuit of addiction, materialism, power, being right and losing ourselves in our jobs.

Lady Gaga bleeds for all of us. It is extreme and un-nerving that a Pop Star could actually be showing us a portrayal of ourselves. That is why so many people revolt in disdain for her music, her fashion and her "trying too hard to be different" style. I think it is more than trying to be different. She is just showing us what has stayed the same for centuries. Obsession with anything, kills.

The Gray Area Foundation For the Arts

A Great New Organization in the heart of San Francisco

forward/slash: The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts Story from GAFFTA on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

SFMOMA in partnership with the Fisher Family (Gap, Inc. Owners)

One of the largest private collections of contemporary art will be on display, hopefully, by 2010-2011 through a partnership between SF MOMA and the Fisher Family (Owners of Gap, Inc.).

Lucas Price

Lucas Price, a.k.a. Cyclops, is a new star in the urban art world; this October 15-November 13 show marks Price’s ascension from a life on the streets to one of the UK’s bestselling artists from a graffiti background.

This image particularly "strikes a chord":

"Featuring the artist’s irreverent and often politically-loaded satire as well as visual commentary on society’s dark underbelly, this promises to be the most audacious debut show of the year."

a new artist....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Music by GREEN DAY
Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong
Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer
Choreographed by Steven Hoggett
Directed By Michael Mayer
**** I will be going on closing night, November 1st. I will be sure to write about this one.

RENT in San Francisco!!!!


Being the fact that I have seen this show six times live, I will be attending this at least once :)

RENT is the classic musical about love, friendship and community, and the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history. Now, RENT is coming to San Francisco in a new touring production starring original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp!

Over the course of its groundbreaking 12-year New York run, RENT transformed the definition of musical theater -- and changed Broadway forever. Set in NYC's East Village, RENT is a modern take on the classic Puccini opera, La Boheme. It tells the unforgettable story of a group of young artists learning to survive, falling in love, finding their voices and living for today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beyond ESPN: An Offbeat Look at Sports Film

At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - August 20, 2009


By Veronica Chen
Aug 20, 2009, 7:30 pm


Disgraced as a doper, thirty-four-year-old Goyo returns to the world of competitive swimming to mentor Chino. Their partnership yields a strange result in this film by Veronica Chen, a young force in Argentine cinema who brings a sensual regard of male physicality. The film’s competitive sequences move from skin-caressing observation to gorgeous or violent abstraction, before the suspense and extreme interiority of a swimmer’s experience give way to a recognition of surroundings. (2006, 89 min, 35mm)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Friday Nights at the De Young

This Friday Night at the De Young in Golden Gate Park :

Time to Celebrate Tutankhamun, featuring Henna Garden, lecture on Egyptian culture, and live music by The Mo'Rockin Project

5:00 PM - 8:45 PM
August 14, 2009
Piazzoni Murals Room, Koret Auditorium

On Friday nights the entire museum is open until 8:45 p.m. Friday Nights at the de Young offers a variety of interdisciplinary arts programs, including live music, poetry, films, dance, tours, and lectures. The cafe is open with a special Friday Nights dinner menu, and a no-host cocktail bar is serving drinks. There are art-making activities for everyone. All Friday Night programming is FREE unless otherwise noted

Wilsey Court
6:30 p.m.
Mo’Rockin Project.
North African and American musicians exchange cultures, creating music from traditional Moroccan melodies, with striking musicianship, salient vision, and immeasurable spirit. The music is alluring, lyrical, creative, funky, spirited and spiritual.

6:00–8:30 p.m.
Hands-on art making fun for everyone with “art diva” Kim Erickson:
Masks of North Africa. Create a mask in the style of the Berber tribes of North Africa.

Koret Auditorium
7:00 p.m.
Special Lecture by Saed Muhssin: “The Golden Age of Egyptian Culture.”
This presentation focuses on Egypt since the turn of the 20th century, putting it in historical context and showcasing some of its significant manifestations in art and culture. Video and sound clips, photos, maps, and translated excerpts of literary works bring Egypt of that time period to the audience. A brief Q&A follows.

Saed is a performer of traditional and modern Arabic music who also gives regular lecture demonstrations and teaches Arabic music classes and workshops.

Piazzoni Murals Room
6:00–8:30 p.m.
Henna Garden
will be on site to provide henna tattoos for a nominal fee. Drawn freehand, henna tattoos are 100-percent natural, safe, temporary, and painless—a unique way to enhance your body, personality, and spirit. The tattoos last one to three weeks.

Related Exhibitions

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
Admission is always free to members, and regular admission fees apply to non-members to visit the galleries: $10 adults, $7 seniors, $6 youths (13–17) and college students with ID, free for children 12 and under. For more information call 415.750.7694, or e-mail

Hom A Go Go! This weekend :)

Friday, August 14, SOMArts (934 Brannan St.) opens it's doors at 11:00 AM for the festival's first full day. Friday's roster includes Joan Jett's own discovery, Girl In A Coma (Blackheart Records), performing Friday, August 14 at 9:45 PM (SOMArts, 934 Brannan St.). With their recent release, "Trio B.C.," Girl In A Coma serves up more of their high energy, southern garage rock. Their live show rivals that of (one of our favorite past HAGG performers), Beth Ditto and the Gossip. Other Friday performers include Erase Errata, Athens Boys Choir, Team Gina, Hunx and His Punx, Purple Rhinestone Eagle (Portland), Silas Howard, Vivvyanne ForeverMore, Kirk Read and Krylon Superstar (infamous East Village performance artist) and emcee, Peaches Christ. The party continues after 10:30 PM at the Lexington Club and at the Rod (Deco Lounge, 510 Larkin St.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"A brilliant meditation on Faith, Islam and music" -Huffington Post

I bring what I love

see the Q&A with the director tomorrow night, Monday Aug 3rd @ 7pm in Berkeley at the Rialto Cinema

see the trailer at: youtube

read review here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What is the Radiant Baby? Keith Haring (1958-1990)

The Radiant Baby is the tag of Keith Haring, pop/street artist of the 1980s. Haring said of the baby, "Babies represent the possibility of the future, the understanding of perfection, how perfect we could be. There is nothing negative about a baby, ever...The reason that the "baby" has become my logo or signature is that it is the purest and most positive experience of human existence."

-- Influences include: Pierre Alcehinksky, Leger, Olitski, Jackson Pollock

Friday, July 31, 2009


Tonight in outer mission, 6pm - 8 pm...see details below!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homo A Go Go!! That Means GO!

Who would have ever thought that just walking down the street would open the doors to a revolution?

Buy Tickets Here

Girl in a Coma



Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ancient Writing - Contemporary Questions: Sophocles' ELECTRA @ STANFORD

by Sophocles
translated by Anne Carson
directed by Rush Rehm

July 23 – August 15, 2009

Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm
Sunday matinee on August 9 at 2:00 pm

Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University; (Seating right at the level of the stage)

---I have to say that I am biased with this production because a very good friend, Francesca McKenzie, plays the role of the sister in this riveting production of "Electra."

Besides my friend being a part of a magnificent production, this ancient writing was as fresh as anything I have seen in a long time. The ensemble did an incredible job accompanied by stunning lighting, stark design and emotive characters.

Don't worry if you don't know about about Greek philosophy (or the story itself) because the "Chorus" describes the entire story through contemporary dance, song and speech. Overall, it was as compelling as theater gets. I hope people get an opportunity to explore the classics. This is a rare chance to see it performed.

Cost: $10 for students, buy on-line beforehand!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Outer Mission/ Excelsior ARTS WALK! My neighborhood!

District 11 Art Walk
Friday July 31st 6-8pm

District 11 Supervisor John Avalos in conjunction with Intersection for the Arts, Out of Site Youth Arts Center, Mamá Art Cafe, The Geneva Car Barn and Power House and local community members presents: A SPECIAL ONE NIGHT FREE FAMILY EVENT.

The Artwalk consists of three events, located within a one block radius on Mission Street near Onondaga. The events include an Art Show featuring:

  • Children's activities with Tree Frog Treks at 4767 Mission Street

  • You can also take part in a One-Night-Mural project led by Andrea Hassiba
Come out to see the artistic talent of our neighborhood, support your local merchants, and enjoy a stroll with your family and friends.

For more information, please call: 415-554-6976.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

And so it begins...

July 16, 2009 Wednesday
Rules of the Fifth Wall, by Clock Tower Ensemble
Studio theater at Brava Women's Theatre

On-line Review

It was an interesting take on theater and what the experience of being an actor is like. But, I felt as someone that isn't "in" the theater left out as an audience member. Though, it was inspiring to see so many young actors working in collaboration.

July 17, 2009 Thursday


Mortified ! I love the idea of reading from your journals from high school. I know mine has potential, but from what the six people who read tonight, everyone has similar horrifying experiences growing up.

If you ever get the chance in your city to go to Mortified, go!


July 18th, Saturday
Rent Ave. Boy,

Play at the Box Car theater

An urban rock fairy tale

Book and Lyrics by Nick A. Olivero
Music by Michael Mohammed
Directed by Wolfgang Wachalovsky

July 16 – Aug 8

It was definitely an interesting experience being that this was a preview night. As I get more into the city, I see so much more experimentation with the arts. It is progressive, edgy and sometimes just downright bad. That is the experience of art though, the evolution of what an audience likes or dislikes. Sitting on scaffolding above the stage was an new and exciting way to view a show. That was about the freshest thing about this show. The plot and characters were stereotyped and the music was a bit rough. Also, for a RENT and Jonathan Larson fan, this was painful to see the copied material. It could have been a homage, but was quite cliche. All the actors and actresses were quite talented, just a difficult script to work with. I would encourage anyone to see it because this blog is all about supporting the arts, good or bad, experimental or historical. I think Box Car Theater will definitely have some outstanding shows this season and I will definitely continue to support them even though I was somewhat disappointed with this show.


Free San Francisco Symphony Concert in Dolores Park (Mission Dist.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2:00 pm

Dolores Park is a perfect setting for the San Francisco Symphony in an afternoon of musical favorites including excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, followed by Beethoven’s incomparable Symphony No. 5. Bring a blanket, pack and picnic and arrive early so you don’t miss your chance to meet members of the Orchestra demonstrating their instruments before the concert.


It was free, the park was full of people, and live music = can't beat that :)