GJ Willis' Art Notes
The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.
I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.
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Monday, January 31, 2005
Today, I took the light rail to the #C Shuttle Bus. I took this bus because I didn’t see the #B Express Shuttle Bus waiting at the stop. The #C bus took me all the way to work. I didn’t have to transfer at Timonium! I ended up getting to work at 6:25! I love this bus! A whole 35 minutes early! I hope to see the bus again tomorrow.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Friday, January 28, 2005
Yesterday, I decide to go to the opening of the Phoenix Rising Mail Art Show at the Creative Alliance. I went because I wanted to see if my work made it to the gallery. Come to think of it this is the very first opening I’ve been to at the Creative Alliance or any other gallery for that matter. I tend to avoid openings. I prefer to come back and visit my artwork a few days after openings just to see if it’s really there. I always have this fear that the gallery owner might change there mind at the last minute and decide not to display my work. I usually end up having panic attacks about attending gallery receptions for fear my wok won’t be there.
Anyway, it was bitter cold outside on the evening of the opening. Jed Dodds, the artistic director of the Creative Alliance was sitting at the front desk. He asked me curtly, why I was there. I told him that I wanted to see the mail art show. He directed me upstairs. Sometimes I wonder if he would have been as curt to me if I were white. It was opening night for goodness sake why else would anyone be there tonight?
I went upstairs. There was mail art hanging everywhere on the walls and on a clothesline. I decided not to look around specifically for my work but instead to view everything I saw. If I saw my work fine, if not then, “Oh, well...”
While looking around I thought maybe they’d have light finger food on trays like they have in the movies or on tv shows when they show art openings. All that was there was a cooler filled with beer. I don’t drink. Then it happened I spotted my two postcards hanging on a line. They looked like actual pieces of artwork! I felt relieved that they were really there! I kind of relaxed and then Rev. Paul came up to me and told me about the exhibit. He asked if I was a participant. I of course told him, No.
I don’t quiet know why I did this. I’ve been exchanging mail art with him for a while without formally meeting him face to face. Why I couldn't sum up the courage to say, “Yes! I’m one of the artists whose work is on display here tonight!”, is beyond me. I guess it was fear of someone finally being able to pin a face to the artwork. My anonymity would be dissolved. I would have to start talking about esoteric things like the creative process and my artwork. I would have to start dressing in black 24-7 and violently ripping apart canvases whenever I’m upset. The simple truth of the matter is that I just like to paint, there’s nothing fancy or esoteric about it, me, or my work.
There’s this woman that works at my company who is an artist. I think her name is Carol. I think that when people meet an artist they are expecting someone like Carol. She’s very pretentious, talkative, giggly and is always changing her hair color and look. I could never be as artsy and outrageous as Carol. I can only be me.
So thus, you’ve learned that I prefer to be anonymous and rarely show up at gallery openings where my work is displayed. If ever I should gather the courage to go to another opening I would never admit that, “Yes, I painted that!”, to anyone there. I would prefer to just blend into the background and mock my own artwork if that’s the general conscientious of the evening.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Took the light rail train to the shuttle bus stop across from the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The shuttle bus that was waiting was the B Express bus. This bus makes no stops until it gets to the Timonium Fair Grounds. However, it’s last stop is Warren Road. My job is further than that so I had to transfer to another bus at Timonium. Luckily, despite having to transfer buses, I got in to work again at 6:30!!
I love getting in to work early. I can do things like eat breakfast and brush my teeth. I think I could probably run through the halls joyfully, screaming like that kid in Home Alone did when he realized he was.... home alone. The only thing keeping me from doing this is that there are security camera’s hooked up in the halls and entryways. Trust me, if they weren't there I would probably be running wildly through the halls, arms raised, screaming, “Ahhhhh!” every morning at 6:30. Damned, security cameras!.......
Academy Award Nominations
I feel that the most undeserving of a nomination was Virginia Madsen. She added nothing to Sideways. You could have cast a Smurf in the same role and the outcome would have been the same.
This year is unique for me in that I’ve seen four of the five nominated Best Pictures. I’m not really interested in seeing Million Dollar Baby now that I know that it’s about euthanasia and not a feel good boxing flick.
As far as the nominees go my heart wants it to go to Ray but my head says that The Aviator will win Best Picture. It would be icing on the cake if Marty (I’ve never met Martin Scorsese, but I like to think of him as just plain old Marty.) finally gets a Best Director award. The man is a genius! It’s an absolute crying shame that this man as far I know has NEVER picked up an award or best director!
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Our fearless leader.... This has to be hands down my all time favourite picture of Bush. I like it because in this photo, to me, he looks just like a pimp.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Since there was a bit of snow this weekend I took the light rail train to the shuttle bus for the first time. The reason for my change of transportation mode is that the #8 bus runs across residential streets at certain sections. Some of these streets are very narrow. I imagine that not all of these streets have been plowed.
Despite, leaving out much later than usual I was just five minutes late for work. I thought I would make it in around eight. Hmmm, I might just give this light rail to the shuttle bus business a try.
THE NEW OTL SHOW
Of all the folks this week Maynard is the one I’m most familiar with. He’s practically the official jock strap carrier for Steve Rouse. Not that I think there’s anything weird or impropriatous about a young hot strapping 20something being the sidekick of an aging DJ. Maynard, generally comes off as being likable on air. I wish they would keep him for the show and throw the other two to the curve. They would of course have to find two other people for the show. I seriously doubt that he could sustain a show entirely on his own. He, doesn’t have a wild, wacky, radio personality. He’s more of a straight man or sidekick...
As far as Josh Speigel, goes I recall listening to him when he used to do the news for another morning show. First off I have to say I can’t stand the sound his voice. He over enunciates his words. He thinks he’s being funny but it comes off as annoying. I want so bad to go over to the studio and bitch slap him a couple of times. Talk Normal Dammit!!
I also briefly recall hearing Dakota as a DJ on another station. Overall, I find him annoying. I get the feeling he is auditioning for a spot on The Sports Junkies. He seems to be suffering from ADD. The only person he allows to get a word in edgewise is himself. Also I find him overbearing. He should just go back to spinning his box of records.
All in all I hope they audition more people for the spot. Listening to the show today was like listening to an on air abortion. They all lacked chemistry. They all seemed humorless and glum. They had to resort to resort to asinine tactics like having listeners call in to tell their favorite Yo Momma Jokes.
I hope that the station gets wise and hires a local comedian like Big Ben Kennedy or any other local comedian for that matter, other than Mickey Cucchiella to fill the slot. The thing I liked most about the show was that it was funny, right now it’s horrible. Bring Back the Funny!
WHAT I’M WEARING: Today, I have on blue jeans brown, leather lace ups, and a blue denim shirt and a very heavy large long blue sweater. It’s made out of a kind of fleece material. The temperature outside this morning is minus something degrees. This is my heavy duty, baby it’s cold outside, sweater.
Friday, January 21, 2005
This morning it’s still cold as hell outside. Instead of walking to the bus stopped I decided to take the bus instead. My main reason I did this is because there is still ice and snow down on the ground. I believe I’ve expressed my fear numerous times of walking on ice. In fact when it snows I usually walk in the street instead of on the sidewalk.
However, while watching the events unfold on television I was deeply heartened to see all the protesters on Bush’s parade route. It bought a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. I’m not the only Bush non-supporter in the country!!!
WHAT I’M WEARING:Today, I’m wearing a marigold yellow turtleneck, blue jeans, brown lace up shoes, and a black crew neck sweater. I’m wearing the black sweater to signify my mourning for the death of the US democracy, the loss of legendary alternative radio station WHFS, and the loss of the Out To Lunch Show with Miles and Thrill.
The only thing I have to look forward to is a gallery showing next week of some of my mail art which is a part of the Creative Alliance’s Phoenix Rising Mail Art Show. I think it opens up on the 27th of January. I know you would think I would keep better track of when and where my art work is being shown.
Oh, my God!!!! As I’m typing this at 5:51 am, WTMD, is playing the BEASTIE BOYS!! They never ever play the Beastie Boys. I suppose the reason they never played the Beastie Boys is because they may be considered too hard core for their folk music listening Starbucks chugging soccer mom listeners. Then again the Beastie Boys song they are playing is Girls.
I know I haven’t really expressed the reason why the loss of a radio station such as(WHFS) is such a shock to the system to me. To put it plainly, WHFS has played alternative music for well over 30 years!! They have been on air for nearly as long as I’ve been alive. Imagine my shock when they switched formats to Spanish music. When they did this it left 98 Rock as the only rock station in town. I rarely listen to 98 Rock because they sound as if they are stuck in a 1985 time warp. I swear it seems as though they are still using the same play lists from the 80’s. The only time I listen to that station is for the KML Morning Show. I like listening to that show in between Howard Stern because they don’t play any music and they are entertaining.
I also have to say despite everything I wrote about them I do like listening to WTMD. I like them because they play a different variety of alternative music than WHFS. WTMD tends to play a more acoustic, folk, alt-country blend of alternative music. It’s the type of music that an upscale soccer mom would listen to. My only gripe with WTMD is that they rarely rock out music wise.
Without WHFS I would never have heard Franz Ferdinand or The Killers. It was a month after hearing The Killers on WHFS that WTMD started playing them. I only hope that WTMD eventually adds Franz Ferdinand to there playlist. If they did this I wouldn’t feel like it was an alternative music source for soccer moms. I suppose hearing the Beastie Boys this morning is a step in the right direction. I’m not saying I want them to start playing Metallica just a little more guitar oriented non-corporate sounding music.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The #8 bus arrived this morning at 5:42. It is very cold outside this morning. Later this evening the Baltimore area is expecting 1 to 2 inches of snow.
Overall, the weather this winter has been very odd for the Baltimore/Washington area. For the past few weeks it has been unseasonably warm. We usually have our first major snowstorm in the early part of December. I guess I should consider our area lucky this year. I just hope the snow we’re expecting doesn’t turn into a raging snowstorm. I guess I shouldn’t worry either way because I have a scheduled day off tomorrow.
I also will be joining in the Not One Damn Dimeprotest. This is a protest that someone cooked up of not spending money on inauguration day to protest the Iraq war. This will be an easy one for me to participate in because I hate spending money.
Anyway, I don’t care what anyone else say, I still believe the election was fixed... To me Bush will always be an illegitimate President.
WHAT I’M WEARING:Today, I have on a kelly green crew neck sweater. The turtleneck I have on under it is paisley. My pants today are blue stone washed jeans. The shoes I have on are brown leather lace ups.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
The bus arrived slightly late this morning it arrived at 5:42. Right now it’s cold as I don’t know what this morning. I would like to buy one of those knitted caps that have flaps on them. They look like they would keep my head and ears much warmer than they feel now.
WHAT I’M WEARING:Today, I have on a green fair isle knit sweater, dark blue mock turtleneck, stone washed jeans and brown leather lace ups.
Monday, January 17, 2005
I watched the Golden Globes yesterday. I cheered when Jamie Foxx got the Best Actor Award. I felt as though I had won. I admit I tend to feel this way anytime a black person wins an award. I wonder if I’m the only black person that feels that way.
I’m also a bit upset that Marty (I’ve never met Martin Scorsese but I like to think of him as Marty) didn’t win for Best Director. The man’s a genius! Why won’t they give him no respect.
I wasn’t in much of a rush to get to work on time this morning. Everything is running on a holiday schedule on account of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. I got up a little later than usual. Despite this I managed to make it to work just three minutes late, not bad!
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Sunday, January 16, 2005
I felt a little bit apprehensive when I got up to the box office to get tickets for Finding Neverland. I was apprehensive not because of the movie but the title. It’s sad that when I think I think of Neverland the specter of Michael Jackson and his child molestation charges looms heavily in my mind.
Despite the title, Finding Neverland, was a brilliant sweet little movie. Johnny Depp gave a quiet understated performance as Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie. J.M. Barrie was the man who wrote Peter Pan, hence, the once innocuous now semi-creepy title of the movie.
Oddly, enough some people believe that Barrie might have been a pedophile. I don’t feel based on the movie and historical evidence that this was true.
Personally, I feel that the reason that he hung around with the Llewellyn-Davies boys and their young widowed mother was that he and his wife had no children of their own. It was ready made situation in need of a father-like figure.
The standout performer in this movie wasFreddie Highmore. That little kid made me cry! Yes, I admit it I sometimes cry during sad scenes in movies.
Throughout the movie I was pushing back the urge to cry. It was the scene with Depp and Little Freddie on the bench that really pushed me into a full blown crying fit. The last movie I cried at was AI, before that it was ET.
Here’s hoping that Little Freddie has a long and prosperous acting career. All I know is that right now he’s probably running neck in neck with Haley Joel Osment as being one of the best actors of his generation. I understand that Depp requested that Little Freddie be put in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory....
The second movie I saw yesterday was Ray. Jamie Foxx was absolutely brilliantly fantastic in Ray. I felt as thought he was Ray Charles. I feel that he most definitely will get awards for this performance. All in all this has been the best movie I have seen this year. The acting, the music, all phenomenally superb!!
From watching the movie I was surprised to learn that Ray Charles was once a womanizing junkie. No wonder his back up group was called the Raylettes. To be in it you had to practically, “let Ray...”
It was also great to see former child actress Regina King in the movie. I’m probably the only person on the planet who remembers her from her days on tv’s 227. It’s nice to see that she has continued on with her acting career and is doing quiet well for herself. I’ve also noticed that in all the movies I’ve seen her in she tends to give rock solid performances. Her role as Margie Hendricks, Ray’s mistress, was another brilliantly seamless work from Ms. King. Go Regina!! Go!!
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Saturday, January 15, 2005
This morning I woke up later than usual because I forgot to set my alarm clock for work. I signed up for Saturday overtime> I signed up mainly over guilt for taking three days off for vacation. I’m not sure what time I will make it in to work this morning.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Friday, January 14, 2005
It’s rainy outside. The bus arrived at 5:38.
WHAT I’M WEARING:It’s business casual day at work so no jeans today. Instead I have on dark blue slacks, a blue fair isle knit sweater that has various shades of blue in it and a dark blue mock turtleneck underneath it. My shoes today are the brown lace ups.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
The bus was on time this morning. The bus driver is different from the one we had yesterday. This one kind of remind me of the comedian Sinbad. I hope that he will get the bus to my job on time.
DEATH OF A RADIO STATION
WHFS used to bill itself as being the True Alternative. I suppose playing Latin music makes them alternative again. Anyway, WHFS haven’t played real alternative music since the early 90’s. In the mid 90’s they became pretty much corporate rock radio.
98 Rock, the other area rock radio station seems to be stuck in a time warp. Listening to them is like groundhog day. It’s always 1985 on 98 Rock.
I guess from now on I’ll have to switch to WTMD as my primary music source. The only problem with that is that they don’t have Franz Ferdinand on their playlist.....
WHAT I’M WEARING: Today, I have on a blue paisley turtleneck pullover. The pants I have on are blue jeans. The shoes I have on are blue suede shoes.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The bus arrived at 5:42. It stood at the staging area in front of the hospital for a very long time. For a while I was afraid that the we had a new driver. But the driver is not new. It is the same guy I remembered from Monday. He’s young kind of reminds me of Malcolm Jamal Warner who played Theo on The Cosby Show. Hopefully, there will be no mishaps this morning and I will will be 10 minutes early for work a usual.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Anyway, in case you're wondering the shoes I have on are brown leather lace-ups.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
This morning the bus arrived at 5:38. This is a lot closer to it’s arrival time in the schedule book. Again, I did not get a good look at the driver. I have no idea if it’s male or female.
So Far So Good
Yesterday, at work started off kind of rocky. Brian, called an early morning meeting. Whenever meetings are called I get scared. I’m always afraid that they will say that there will be budget cuts and that they’ve decided to eliminate our department.
This time it was very minor it turns out that someone in our group wanted to change their work schedule and he wanted to know if anyone else wanted to change their schedule as well. Luckily, everyone else was happy with their schedule. Whew!!
Yesterday, I did see Martin Scorsese's’, The Aviator, at Baltimore’s historic Senator theater.
I arrived at the theater at 3:00 but the movie started at 4:30. So to eat up time I went over to this new book store that opened up across the street from the movie theater. They were having a huge sale. Some books were discounted to nearly 80% off. I love to read so I bought a few books. I bought primarily bought classic paperback books. The books I purchased included; Washington Square by Henry James, Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Daisy Miller by Henry James, Emma by Jane Austin, and The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.
The one book I was curious to read was Thomas Hardy’s, Return of the Native. I was assigned to read that book my senior year in high school but never got around to it. The reason why I never read the book was that I noticed that my English teacher, Mr. Edwards, had the peculiar habit of reading out loud chapter by chapter, page by page, the books he assigned the class to read. So I thought to myself, why should I bother reading the book if he’s going to read it to us? I believe I was the only student that year that did not bother to read or buy the book. In case you're curious I did pass my senior English final exam and graduate from high school on time.
In case you’re not aware The Aviator is about the early life and times of Howard Hughes. Howard Hughes was born into a wealthy Texas family. His father’s company, the Hughes Tool Company, invented a tri-form drilling head for oil mining. The drill head was vital to the proliferation of the oil industry and is still in use today.
Howard Hughes was a man obsessed with many things, flying airplanes (set a record in 1938 for flying around the world in 91 hours), making movies (The Outlaws, Hells Angels, and Scarface), having a Hollywood starlet on his arm (Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Jean Harlow), and hygiene.
Things I learned while watching the movie that I did not previously know about Howard Hughes was that he owned TWA airlines, the RKO film studio, and was hard of hearing. I of course was shocked to find that he was hard of hearing because I’m hard of hearing. Now if only my parents were billionaires who left me with an empire to run at the age of 24....
Fantastic things about the movie, you get to see Leo’s ass about twice in the movie. The ass shots occur later in the film as Howard Hughes is going through a mental breakdown.
All in all The Aviator is great movie. I would recommend that you see it. However, I do admit that I kind of wanted the movie to end with Howard Hughes hitching a ride from Melvin Dumas...
WHAT I’M WEARING Today, I have on a green multi-coloured v-neck sweater. Under the sweater I have on a marigold yellow long sleeve turtleneck pull over. My pants are blue jeans. My shoes are my usual beloved brown leather lace-ups.
Monday, January 10, 2005
This morning I left out the house extra early trying to catch the 5:36 bus #8 bus, instead of the 5:46 bus. As you can recall last Tuesday the 5:46 bus left at around 5:57. This made me 15 minutes late for work. I’m not sure if the bus’s lateness could be attributed to the driver’s own idiosyncrasies or if it was a fill in driver not familiar with the time schedule.
Anyway, when I arrived at the bus stop at 5:20 there was a #8 bus already pulling up to the stop. As I got on the bus I heard him mumble something.
I’m not sure if I’ve said this before but I’m slightly deaf. I admit that I wear earphones a lot to cover up that fact. It gives me an instant excuse. You know I couldn’t hear you because I was playing my tunes. Not that I couldn’t hear you because I don’t want to wear a dorky looking hearing aid.
Anyway, it took me a while to decipher that the bus driver said that the bus was heading to Stella Maris not Hunt Valley. Stella Maris is a nursing home that is no where near my job. So I got off the bus and walked up the street to the next stop mainly to keep myself warm. While waiting for the #8 Hunt Valley bus I saw a man possibly roll a joint. I was shocked because he looked very respectable. It wasn’t until he started smoking it that I realized that it was just regular tobacco. I can’t believe that there are still people in this day and age who still roll their own cigarettes. I suppose it’s a cost cutting issue. I don’t smoke but I do understand that cigarettes are very expensive to buy.
In case your wondering the 5:36 bus did eventually arrive this morning at 5:41. This isn’t to bad because it got me to work 10 minutes before start time. With the light rail I should note that I usually make it in 15 minutes before start time.
CONCERN OF THE DAY: Do I Still Have a Job?
The main reason why I would take a single day off instead of a week is because I sometimes hear about people getting fired after they come back from long vacations. I used to sit next to this girl named Joy who got fired a couple of weeks after coming back from a long vacation. Also Maria Dennis, a Baltimore radio personality, got fired after coming back from maternity leave.
To the best of my knowledge I’ve been doing an ok job at work. I can’t recall Brian yelling at me for anything recently. The only thing I can think of that could be a target would be the occasional latenesses due to the MTA. I guess I’ll just come in today and do the best job I can.
One thing’s for sure I will be seeing the 4:30 showing of The Aviator at The Senator. I’m really looking forward to this one because Leonardo Di Caprio for the first time ever on film bares his bare ass.
WHAT I’M WEARING: I'm wearing a kelly green sweater. Underneath the sweater I have on a green plaid long sleeve cotton shirt. The pants I have on are khaki pants. The shoes I'm wearing are brown leather shoes that you have tie up. I feel comforted by these shoes. They are very generic looking. They remind me of the type of shoes my mother used to buy me.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Today, is the start of my quest to see all the movies that are likely to be nominated for Oscars. The movies that seem to be getting the most Oscar buzz include: The Aviator, Sideways, Million Dollar Baby, Hotel Rwanda, Closer, Finding Neverland, Kinsey, and a Very Long Engagement.
The reason I like to do this is so that I can have a clear idea of who to root for when I watch the Oscars later this year. I admit this year I did the majority of my movie viewing at home with Netflix. The only movies I recall seeing this year were Troy, Spiderman 2, and Fahrenheit 9-11. These three movies I know are unlikely to have multiple nominations in categories other than special effects, costume design, and documentary.
I started my quest today at The Charles Theater where I saw the 2pm showing of Sideways. The movie was more of a dramadey than an out and out comedy. Overall, it was an above average movie.
As far as the plot line goes, in short, I would describe it as a modern day Odd Couple. Where Felix and Oscar decide to visit California's wine country for a week. They go there to celebrate Oscar's impending marriage. Wine just so happens to be a subject that is near and dear to Felix's heart. While there Oscar is bored and decides that it would be great if they just picked up chicks and got laid. This idea of course horrifies Felix that Oscar could be so callous, so close to his wedding day.
Okay, ok. I admit that the two main characters in the movie were not named Felix and Oscar but Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church). They both gave great performances. Their portrayals of the two characters struck me as real. I'm not sure if they struck me as real because they were not young pretty boys or that they were doing an outstanding job. I later decided that the reason the characters struck me as being real was not because of their every day people looks, but there talent. Overall, I didn't feel like I wasted two hours of my life watching the film.
However, I don't see why Thomas Haden Church got nominated for a Golden Globe. While watching this movie I wasn't going, Wow! This is award winning stuff! I guess to me whenever I see him I think of that goofy mechanic character he used to play on Wings. His role in the movie didn't seem like that much of a stretch. The only difference I could see is that this character was just a tad bit on the amoral side, yet still loveable.
I guess he picked up the nomination for that big crying scene he did towards the end of the movie when he asked his friend Miles to help him out on something. In that scene he went from being a guileless asshole to being a deeply pathetic and scared man.
Two other great performances in the movie were Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh as the two waitresses the guys pick up. Of the two female performers my favorite was Sandra Oh. I loved the spunky, vivacious, spark she gave to her character. If Sandra Oh gets nominated for best supporting actress for this role I will not be going, Huh?
WHAT I'M WEARING: Right now I have on a dark blue sweater, black pants, and purple fuzzy slippers I got Christmas.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Today, I decided to venture out into the world and see a play at Center Stage. The play I saw was Kwame Kwei-Armah's, Elmina's Kitchen. I knew little about the play or playwright before seeing it. The only assumption I made was that the playwright Kwei-Armah must be African American. I was wrong he's actually British African Caribbean.
The only thing I knew about the play itself was that it had something to do with West Indians. If I haven't said it before my family is from the West Indies. So I admit I had a vested interest in seeing this play. It turns out that the play is about three generations of West Indian men living in Britain. It's about there lives on the Murder Mile in Hackney, London where they run a restaurant called Elmina's Kitchen.
After the play was over the playwright was available for a Q&A session after the show. I found him to be vibrant, lively, and extremely intellegent. He was so good that I'm surprised he's not running for public office.
In all the years that I have worked and seen shows at Center Stage I can not recall a writer being so accessible to the public. Then again Kwei-Armah isn't a run of the mill writer. He started off as an actor. He was a long time series regular on Casualty. Casualty is like the UK version of ER. Of the two I believe that Casualty has been on the air longer. Also he was famously booted off of Fame Academy. Fame Academy was a show that pitted UK celebrity against celebrity. His failure to make the finals caused a major public uproar. The reason I know all these things is because I spend way too much time on UK message boards and I Google.
Overall, Elmina's Kitchen was like seeing an August Wilson play filtered through the lense of the British Afro-Caribbean experience. This I found was no accident because Kwe-Armah explained during the Q&A session that he is an admirer of August Wilson's work. Also I learned that he wrote the first three pages of the play in Baltimore. So coming here to him was like coming full circle. He had come to Baltimore a couple of years ago to see an August Wilson play and to see a lecture Wilson was giving.
I will be posting a more detailed review of the show later in the week.
WHAT I'M WEARING:Today, I have on a red sweater. Under the sweater I have on a white turtle neck. The pants I'm wearing are black. My shoes are black canvas tennis shoes.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Today, is a very special day for me. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! That’s right, I’m celebrating the big 3-5! I’m now five years away from the big 4-0!
The one thing I’ve never really liked about my birthday is it’s close proximity to Christmas. When my birthday rolls around people are usually flat broke. The last birthday party I ever had was for my 9th birthday.
I’m not really angry or upset about this. I’m autistic and I feel uncomfortable in social situations. So in a since it’s been a blessing that no one has ever forced me to be sociable on my birthday. To me, my birthday, has always been a day of reflection.
So this year I took the day off from work as well as the two days following it. I’m mainly doing this so that I can use up all my vacation days. I hope that I will have still have a job when I come back to work on Monday. I always hear about people who come back from long vacations and find they’ve been fired. I hope this doesn't happen to me.
The reason why I’m giving this three day vacation thing a try is that last year, I had the privilege of attaining three weeks vacation. At the end of the year I was surprised to find out that I had a couple of days left that I wasn’t aware of. I couldn’t do anything about it because it was in the last week of December that I found out my unique situation. So this year I thought I’d try to use up every single vacation and personal day I have available.
As per usual I’m off on the first days of spring, summer, fall, and winter. To further pad things out, I’ve added Inauguration Day, Earth Day, Halloween, and the birthday’s of ex-boyfriends.
The last thing I want this year is to find out in the last week of December that I have extra vacation days left that I never took. You have no idea how horrible that felt. I absolutely do not want to relive that nightmare ever again.
WHAT I’M WEARING: Right now, I have on a cream colored long sleeve waffle knit shirt that has a picture of a cute teddy bear wearing jeans and red shirt that says Authentic Bear Wear. I’m also wearing blue jeans. Since it’s my day off I’ve been flitting around the apartment in red flip flops.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
I got to the bus stop again five minutes early. The bus arrived at around 5:58. According to the bus schedule the bus was supposed to arrive at 5:46. It's my second day of taking the bus and already it's late. Then again for all I know maybe it was on time for that particular driver and yesterday was just a fluke or mabe a fill in driver. I don't know anything for sure because I don't usually take this bus line to work. All I know is that the bus got me to work 15 minutes late today. I hate this!
I hope that Brian, my supervisor, doesn't hold one of those group meeting were he gathers us all together and tells us that we have to be on time for work. I always feel like those meeting are directed at me the sole MTA rider in the group.
WHAT I’M WEARING: Today, I have on a long sleeve purple henley, beige jeans, and brown leather lace up shoes.
Monday, January 03, 2005
I know that I’ve said absolutely nothing about this because I’ve been avoiding thinking about it. The light rail from North Avenue to Hunt Valley will be shut down from now until a year or so. It’s being shutdown so that the trains can run on a double track. Right now there are certain sections of the light rail where there is just one track instead of two. Double tracking allegedly means that the light rail will run faster and smoother.
Today, was the first day of the shutdown. This means that today I had to leave out extra early to catch the #8 bus. I have never taken this bus to work in my entire life.
Instead of taking the #20, #2, or #1 to transfer to the #8 bus. I decided to walk briskly down to the starting point of the #8 bus. Luckily, for me it’s starting point isn’t that far from my house. I’d say it’s about 2 or 3 blocks. One thing I immediately found out is that the time listed on the MTA site for the buses arrival was about 5 minutes off. Also, I noticed the Latino couple that I catch the other buses with got on this bus to. You see they always get off at this stop to catch another bus. I had no idea the other bus they caught was the #8. So if this is the bus that they’ve been transferring to it’s a possibility that I can keep my old sleep wake schedule. For now I’ll just continue walking briskly down the street. Besides, I need the exercise.
WHAT I’M WEARING: Today, I have one a magenta long sleeve scoop neck cotton pullover with khaki pants and brown leather shoes.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
This afternoon after I got back from my very liberal church I noticed that the woman that lives upstairs and her husband/boyfriend were both sitting on the steps. This was very unusual because I only seem to see them when there is a possibile threat of a house fire. It seems that she is slightly paranoid of a house fire occurring. I think something bad happened in her past involving a house fire. She seems to be constantly on the lookout to prevent one. So you guessed it there was the possibility of a house fire.
Apparently, the smoke detector on the first floor was going off. She tried with no avail to contact the people on the first floor. She couldn't reach them because they were not home. She even tried calling the landlord to see if he could come by to open the door and turn off the alarm. She couldn’t reach him either. Her one option was to call the fire department.
I felt this was silly because there was no sign of smoke. Besides, I had heard their detector go off last night. It was obviously a case where their battery was running low. I did tell her of my suspicions. She told me that she was just afraid that if she left to where her and her husband/boyfriend were going to that the house would be gone by the time they got back. The poor dear. I felt sorry for her. So there she sat on the steps wringing her hands.
I went inside and ate my lunch and checked back every now and then to see how things had progressed. Eventually, the fire department and two female police officers arrived. I met them at the inside landing. I told them I felt that this was all just a case of the batteries running down. I also told them I had been there for two hours and not once did I smell smoke.
At first they wanted to break down the door. Then they went back outside to talk to the woman. Somehow she convinced them or maybe they convinced themselves that it was all just a false alarm and that there was no need to break into the apartment.
Anyway, I honestly believe that the presence of the fire department helped to ease the mind of the woman upstairs. The fire department’s presence I believe made her feel that everything was going to be ok. She was more relieved and calm after they had arrived. Just after the fire department left she and her husband/boyfriend merrily left to what ever destination they were headed to before the fire alarm went off.
As they were leaving I told them I would buy the people downstairs a battery for their alarm. As you can imagine the alarm was starting to make me a little antsy. I wanted to get out of there. Besides, I needed a battery for my own smoke detector. I was going to buy a 2 pack Duracell and split it in two but the sales lady told me they had a buy one get one free sale on generic batteries. I felt this would be a great deal. They’d have their own pack and so would I.
When I got back home I caught my upstair neighbor’s disease. I found myself anxiously peeking in and out of the front door wondering when the people downstairs would arrive. I was going to leave a note with the batteries attached to their door but decided against it.
I feel that leaving a note would in essence be tantamount to saying, “You’re friggin alarm was driving me crazy! In fact so crazy that I had to leave this freaking house and spend my own money on batteries to quiet that god damned thing!”
In the end I felt leaving batteries was more anonymous and less confrontational. I noticed that when they arrived the beeping of the alarm stopped and the batteries were gone.
I hope they’re not mad at me or retaliate against me. Then again maybe they think it was left by the woman upstairs who’s constantly afraid of fire. I think that would make more sense to them than the very odd woman who avoids eye contact and doesn't say much.
WHAT I’M WEARING: Right now I have on a pair of light blue pajamas with a cloud design on them along with blue fuzzy slippers.