GJ Willis' Art Notes

The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Good Night and Good Luck, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., and David Strathairn from Good Night and Good Luck

Today I went to church and then afterwards I walked down to The Charles to see Good Night, and Good Luck.

I found the movie to be extremely boring. The movie seemed to consist of old archive film clips of the McCarthy hearings interspersed with black and white live action of a 1950s newsroom. I learned absolutely nothing about the inner workings of Edward R. Murrow. After watching the film he is still an enigma to me. The only thing I took back from the film was the he was a heavy smoker and that David Strathairn did a great job looking like him. George Clooney was also in the movie. Clooney also directed this movie which should be touted as cure for insomnia. In the movie Clooney played Fred Friendly. I am not entirely sure who Fred Friendly was in relationship to the early days of American television. All I know is that the name sounded familiar. The movie did nothing to flesh out who Fed Friendly and Edward R, Murrow really were or were like.

The only exciting thing about the movie was that every now and then they would cut to a singer singing in a studio. The singer seemed to be taping her show 24/7. It made me wonder if the 8 hour work day was in effect during the 50s. The unnamed singer was played by jazz singer, Diane Reeves. While watching her sing it struck me as to why I found the film so boring. It was boring to me because there was no background orchestral music in the film. I suppose if there had been background music I might have liked the film more. I guess this is the only review on the internet that didn’t like a movie because of a lack of background orchestral music in it. To me the film felt heavy and lugubrious without it. It felt like I was watching a play with no plot.

My recommendation is to skip this movie. The only reason you should see it is if you have had trouble sleeping and want a sure fire sleep remedy.

link | posted by gail at 11:16 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I just got back from a book signing at Borders by one of our church members. She usually conducts the Winter Solstice ritual on the first day of winter. I don’t know if she does this every year but she did last year. Also today was another meeting for the Citizens Against the Death Penalty at the Americas Friends service committee. I decided not to go because it was cold and I felt that they would hold other meetings in the future. Besides, I would only get to see one book signing at Borders on the 15th of November. Also, I had never been to a book signing before. I also had never been to this particular Borders before. It is brand new. The store used to be on York Road in Towson but they went out of business and closed due to the juggernaut up the street that is Barnes and Nobles.

When I got to Borders I noticed that there were no signs inside or outside the store indicating that there would be a book signing there. This made me wonder if I had gotten the date mixed up or was at the wrong store. Then I looked around and noticed a large group of people gathered. I saw a couple of people whose faces I knew from church.

The book signing consisted of the woman reading a couple of passages from her book. Then she had a couple of her friends sing that old familiar pagan classic, Oh Solstice Tree sung to the melody of Oh Christmas Tree. Afterwards we were all invited to buy a copy of her book which she then signed. I left at that point because I did not have any cash on me.

link | posted by gail at 11:42 PM | 0 comments

Monday, November 14, 2005

Today’s guest on the Marc Steiner Show was Valerie Plame’s husband. I wonder how he managed to get such a timely guest?

Also today I finally bought the cookies for the office Thanksgiving Party. As I’ve written on many occasions I do not cook. As a cook I’m horrible thus the majority of the things I eat are either take away or heated up in the oven.

The cookies I bought came from Berger’s Bakery. A couple of years ago I bought cookies from them for a Halloween Party. No one complained about the cookies back then. So I suppose that Berger’s is a good place to buy cookies from.

Also today I took the #2/10 bus home for the very first time. This bus apparently runs as often as the 23 and 40 buses do. However, I had to walk down a couple of blocks to take it. Since this bus runs frequently I suppose that this bus will become my evening bus of choice.

link | posted by gail at 6:57 PM | 0 comments

Friday, November 11, 2005

Recently a couple of weeks ago the buses in Baltimore changed their routes. Now it seems that 90% of the buses that run on Fayette Street are either the #40 or the #23. It’s as though they have discontinued the bus I need to take home, the #20. The aforementioned #40 and #23 run almost every five minutes during evening rush hour. I have even seen three #40 buses run one right after the other. I feel that this is wasteful because the last #40 bus is always empty. How come they can not put more #20 buses on the street? When the #20 bus finally arrives it always one of those small Neoplan buses. Since the Neoplan buses are small buses this means that the #20 buses are always crowded. The situation with the #20 buses on Fayette Street infuriates me to no end. It makes me feel as though the MTA has something against the people who live my neighborhood.

link | posted by gail at 9:48 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I’d like to say Happy Birthday to the US Marines! I have never been in the military but my cousin Keith is a retired Marine.

Keith is the only child of my mothers only brother, Maurice. For some odd reason my Uncle Maurice had the nickname of Wiggy. I was a little kid so I gave it no thought as to why we called him Uncle Wiggy. He wasn’t particulary wild or anything like that. In fact he was a very laid back mellow person.

I did not grow up with his son Keith because Keith was an adult when I was a kid. I would only see him when he was on leave from the military. The only thing about him I can recall is that he wore glasses and that he was a very large muscular looking man. To me as a child cousin Keith, looked like a friendly giant who happened to wear glasses.

link | posted by gail at 6:45 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I was surprised today when Don and Mike were making several veiled comments about satellite radio on their program. It made me wonder if they will be moving to satellite radio. It should also be noted that both of them were off on Monday. I wonder if they were just making a joke or if they are in fact talking to satellite people. If they are moving to satellite radio I can not imagine my afternoon hours without them.

link | posted by gail at 6:30 PM | 0 comments

Monday, November 07, 2005

Last night I found myself completely into the fake Presidential debate on West Wing. I even logged into Salons Table Talk and the Democratic Underground as I watched the debate. By the way this is what I usually do when I am watching a real political debate.

Last night was the first time that I have watched West Wing in years. Thus I’m not quiet sure who I should be rooting for.

Overall, I felt that Alan Alda as Republican candidate Arnold Vinick clearly won the debate. He came across as a strong polished candidate. In a sense I am ashamed of myself. I am ashamed because I favoured a Republican candidate over a Democrat. I suppose it is OK because, after all, he is a fictional character.

I felt that Jimmy Smits as Democratic candidate, Matt Santos came off as a bit weak. However, I really loved his comeback line when Alda called him a liberal.

After the show I tried to vote in the poll that NBC had up on their website. My efforts were fruitless. I tried and I tried but I could not get through. I think there server might have crashed.

In the end I’m curious as to who fictional West Wing America will vote for after Josiah Bartlet as played by Martin Sheen leaves office. Will there be two liberal Latino Presidents in a row or will a Republican finally take office?

link | posted by gail at 11:00 PM | 2 comments

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I just got back from another meeting of the Baltimore Coalition To End the Death Penalty. This time the meeting was held at the church I go to. I’ve noticed that the meetings seem to occasionally rotate between the church I go to and the Quakers, American Friends Service Committee on York Road..

Anyway, it took me a while to get there because there was some kind of a traffic snarl on the highway. The shuttle bus seemed to take for ever to get off the highway. The traffic getting out of the county was literally bumper to bumper.

The meeting started at 7:00pm I got there around 7:45pm. I was half afraid that I might have missed something important or that the meeting was about to disband. Luckily, as I arrived I saw a woman whom I assume was with her son or grandson arrive ahead of me.

When I got in the building I was surprised to see that it was packed. One of the people whom I assume was an organizer had to get a chair for me to sit in.

This particular meeting was a part of a national speaking tour of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. The tour was entitled, Voices from Death Row. The speakers included people who were exonerated from death row. Speakers included Darby Tillis, Billy Moore, Gwendolyn Bates, and Gary Christopher. Seeing them speak helped to put a human face on the inhumane practice of state sanctioned murder eg., the death penalty.

Darby Tillis is an exonerated former death row inmate and leading activist against capital punishment. He also appears to be a very religious man. During his speech he would occasionally break into a gospel song or two. He had a good singing voice so I’m not complaining..... I just found it an original and highly engaging presentation. A serious speech interspersed with acapella singing. It was like watching Christian performance art, that is if such a category exists in that artform....

Billy Moore was a former inmate on Georgia’s death row. Mr. Moore was in the middle of his presentation when I arrived. I was particularly saddened when he told of the mentally retarded man who was next to be executed. The man could barely read or write or even understand what was about to happen to him. He was just happy that for once everyone was treating him nice. He got a new set of clothes to wear before he was executed and they asked him what he wanted to eat. I almost cried as Mr. Moore told of that former death row inmate.

I was also enraged when he told of how the prison guards seemed to delight in telling the other death row inmates about the retarded man that they had just executed.

I didn’t get a chance to see Gwendolyn Bates speak. Ms. Bates is an activist and sister of Maryland death row prisoner Vernon Evans. I also did not get a chance to see Gary Christopher speak. However, I did see Mr. Christopher speak at a previous meeting. So I am somewhat familiar with what he would say. Mr. Christopher is the attorney defending Wesley Baker

link | posted by gail at 8:23 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wow! I just found out that Michael Moore will be putting out another anti- Bush documentary. The dicumentary will be called, Katrina: The Wrath of Bush. I can not wait to see it! All I can think to write at this moment is, “Damn He Works Fast!

link | posted by gail at 6:21 PM | 0 comments

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