November 2012

Art or commerce?


GS_signSchool let out early last Wednseday, so we took advantage and headed up to MOMA to check out the lastest iteration of artist Martha Rosler’s massive performance/installation of a garage sale. It’s up through November 30, and well worth checking out.

A panoramic view of the show at MOMA.

A panoramic view of the show at MOMA.

The show is set up in the museum’s Marron atrium, which gives the artist a huge indoor space to display the hundreds (and hundreds) of second hand items on offer. The stuff came from all over (the artist, museum staff and public all dontated things) which made for more of a historical moment-in-time display than the voyeristic this-is-my-life feeling that some of Rosler’s previous sales evoked. (Her first “sale” took place at UCSD in 1973) But it was no less satisfying, and we left with a shopping bag full of goods, each piece slightly discounted after I followed the directions on the sign which encouraged participants to haggle.


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Guilt free screen time

chalk_laptopWe are a family that spends a very limited amount of time watching TV or movies or playing games on our smart phones. We don’t have a television, much to the chagrin of all of our parents, though we manage to survive without falling into an abyss of complete ignorance.

I’m also not a big believer in giving your little kids their own phones or computers, because I think they can learn more from a cardboard box, tape, crayons and some friends than an iPhone app. Until I laid eyes on this computer/chalkboard by iWood, which is brilliant.

Because it’s a computer, just like the one Mommy and Daddy are always looking at. And it’s better because you’re totally allowed to draw all over it and no one will get mad. Plus it never needs to recharge.

If only this were the kind of laptop I needed to carry around…

They make a phone, too, which is equally cute, if a bit too small to be effective to do much drawing on.

Keeping Virginia blue

VA_canvassersI don’t put a lot of photos of myself up here, but this one was too good to resist. My little family, along with about 30 other like-minded NewYorkers, decamped to Virginia Beach for a few days leading up to the election, to help the Obama campaign get out the vote in the slightly less glamourous cities of Norfolk and Chesapeake.

And it worked!

For five days we went door to door, in neighborhoods that ranged from lovely to desolate, making sure that the President’s supporters had the information, the wherewithall and the motivation they needed to exercise their right to vote.

We spoke to a very blonde, very white woman, all dressed in pink, who told us how happy she was to see Obama supporters “out of the closet” because so many of her peers are voting for the President, but don’t want to advertise that fact. We talked with people about the economy, jobs, women’s rights and the difficulties of returning home after fighting in a war. We made sure that people understood the new ID laws that were put into place, by the way, largely to intimidate the very people we were talking with. We compared notes on raising small children and how to keep turtles alive through the winter. We drank some of the worst coffee and ate some of the best baklava I’ve ever encountered. Didn’t find any transformative soul food joints, but Johnson’s BBQ did the trick in a pinch.

Most of all, we checked out a corner of our country that is very different from the mean streets of Brooklyn, we gave our daughter a priceless lesson in how our democracy works (as well as s few people we talked to) and we participated, which is exactly what the bad guys didn’t want us to do.

And I took a bunch of photos while we were at it, a few of which I have included here for your viewing pleasure.

Here’s one of the walls at Johnson’s BBQ in Norfolk:

VA_obama wallA typical street in the Chesapeake, VA area we frequented:


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ET WIlliams and Barak Obama

Here’s my dad, with the President of The United States.

Can’t even begin to express how happy/proud/relieved I am that President Obama gets to keep his job for another 4 years.

But maybe the smile on my father’s face in this picture comes close.

Thank you, America. You have restored my faith.