Sunday, December 28, 2008

Detroit Scenes

Tina Holtz Grew up in Detroit and needed a large work of art (or series) for a challenging space in her home. After some conversation with her, this is what I came up with. Watercolor, paper, charcoal on paper. Mounted in a frame made of reclaimed moulding and hardware from buildings that will shortly not exist. Frame detailed with brushed on gilding. SPM.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Remembering Naggy

When I moved back to Michigan, I was unsure I would like living here and had no idea how to connect with anyone. Until I moved into an apartment in a chopped-up old Victorian house upstairs from Naggy. (Her mother named her Agnes, but Naggy told me the name just didn’t take.) We started with nods or "hello's," moved on to the weather, then came family, and, finally, we were friends.
Naggy was eighty-years-old, swore as she said her rosary, observed a Saturday Sabbath and owned a lovely 18th century Thai Buddah, "Just in case."

Christmas day was looking all lovely in white lace and diamonds that year when I shoveled the steps of my building and headed over to Naggy's with goodies. She never cooked, only baked, so I made all of her favorite real foods and packaged them in Gladware.
(I found the best present for a woman who knew everything: A highly inaccurate, but very entertaining, biography on Lucretia Borzia [sic.] published in 1852 and bound in tacky red leather with a gold-tooled death's head grinning unconcernedly from the cover.)

We sat down in her tiny front room (I want one just as interestingly cluttered when I grow up. She even has a plaque from a London taxi commemorating the time it got hit in the Blitz.) and had slurry-thick coffee only old and young fools of the bookish kind can stand.

Toward the end of the visit I asked how she was going to put in her day. She looked out the window a minute, turned to me and said she missed snow angels. I looked out the window a minute, turned to her and asked what she wanted to do about it.

Naggy waddled outside behind me bundled from ankle to neck in fur, wearing a hat made of several dead pheasants and a quantity of brown ribbon and REEKING of moth balls. We made snow angels. We made several. And we laughed hard the whole while and whooped to no end. It was one of the best Christmas mornings ever.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday at Dawn's

It was a Sunday night at Dawn’s in the Bearinger Building. Music nights at Dawn’s tend to be a very eclectic bag… yesterday the place was filled with punk bands and fans.

When the bands were done, the boys done skipping in vicious circles and the furniture sorted, the air still rang with the sounds that once filled it. There was a wad of hair in the middle of the band room stuck to the floor with what later turned out to be a smear of blood, and I had learned a fascinating fact from one of the lead vocalists: Satan loves bologna. Who knew?

But Sunday was different…the evening started with Evan Mann and Haylie Miller singing soft, warm songs that could’ve been lullabies. There were original songs that talked of last Decembers in this place and past loves that echoed through everything along with a cover that was delivered with the sincerity of musicians who have decided that there is no need to reinvent when one can take up a song that exists and pass it forward…

Song For The Road
(by David Ford)

well the day cast down
lengthy shadows on unfamiliar towns
and i drove 300 miles from the place i call home
and i tipped my hat to the angel of the north
and the sun, it set fire to the heavens
on the hills over sheffield tonight
and i will sail over this countryside with new friends and old
we are nowhere but man, we’re alright
so you can keep your belief in whatever
and i’ll wear my cynicism like a tattoo
and while poets try to engineer definitions of love
oh you know that all i can think of is you
and i just can’t wait to see you on sunday
far from the traffic and the smoke and the noise
but for this evening i will play back every message that you sent
so i can sleep to the sound of your voice
now i don’t lightly use words like forever
but i will love you ‘til the end of today
and in the morning when i remember everything that you are
well i know i’ll fall for you over again
now i know someday this all will be over
and it’s hard to say what most will i miss
just give me one way to spend my last moments alive
and i choose this, i choose this, i choose this
i choose this, i choose this, i choose this
i choose this, i choose this, yeah i choose…

The writer spoke of other places, but it seemed appropriate for the current place, time and economic climate that one should choose to savor what was now.