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ThEdblog #7

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

Office Wall - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Obscured by Deconstruction

Okay, okay. O.K. It's a vacation then. One I am apparently already on. Not going anywhere. But. On. Vacation. Long as it doesn't have to be short. I can dawdle in this vacation mode for a couple months. Spring vacation. Maybe a season long. Everybody I talked to told me, "no." I can't quit doing DallasArtsRevue. But "yes," take a vacation. So this is me on a vacation, and at this very moment I want to go look at some art that's just standing around and probably write about it.

Which may not seem like all that much of a vacation, but I didn't not want to do it. I wasn't driven to do it. I actually took the pix originally for my S90 Journal, which is all about me teaching me about my new camera. But I rewrote it for art-interesteds, taking most of the camera stuff out.

Somebody kept talking about HAP at dinner last night. Lovely dinner last night, thanks, Susan. The first dinner of my official vacation. I usually don't look at art on vacations. They are vacations, after all. Except when I was in Washington D.C. and Santa Fe. Managed all those other places without art. Have been back to Santa Fe happily without it, at least not going in and looking at it on purpose. It's everywhere there and everywhere everywhere else, so it's at its best when I don't have to track it down.

Me capturing what might later be art is different. That may be what my vacation is about. I got a new Point+Shoot camera with manual modes that I'm enjoying thoroughly and keeping a journal — blog? (I don't think it's a blog. It's right side up, starts at the top and then goes down the page, unlike blogs, which somehow manage to defy gravity — about what I'm learning, with pictures, often of art, oftener of my home. As usual, except I'm on vacation.

I am not all that familiar with being on vacation. Seems like vacation should be easy, gentle, not a rush to get somewhere and back again and be places on times and rushety rush rush so much of the timedy time. I do still wear the wrist watch Anna gave me last, what? Christmas, and I love it. It's the first watch I've ever had that rarely feels uncomfortable. It just feels like a slight extension of whoever I am now.

A sketch drawing itself. I guess I'd feel more comfortable about it if it were a photograph. Probably I'd feel like I was exercising more control with an image to manipulate, rather than a nondescript tabula rasa, which I only just now learned is a tablet with the writing scraped off, dependent, I suppose, upon whatever is pressed into it, to define the new whatever.  Meanwhile ...

I love learning new cameras, so that's the first thing I've done on this vacation. Writing about photography, instead of art or birds, is another pastime I've begun engaging in very recently. I'm really having fun doing both of those things, and for the moment, week, month or season, it doesn't matter all that much whether anyone else is reading it. Something positively liberating about writing something that nobody is reading but me.

With that journal, I am literally writing instructions for myself. Bring up questions, think about them and mess with my new digicam till I figure how to make it do what I want it to do or somebody else — including whoever wrote the manual — says it will do. Like I am messing with me, trying to figure out how to make me do what I want me to do and meanwhile figuring out what that is.
 

Ribbons - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Road Ribbons   SD780

In Twelve Monkeys, an end-around to the beginning and back again time-travel movie by Terry Gilliam, a psychiatrist played by Madeline Stowe lectures in an ancient edifice about "A self-inflicted agony we call the 'Cassandra Complex.' Cassandra in Greek legend was condemned to know the future, but to be disbelieved when she foretold it; hence, the agony of foreknowledge combined with the impotence to do anything about it."

That may be us journalist's biggest bugaboo. What we believe and see as obvious, everyone else sees as poppycock, madness, idiocy. Another wild side trip that's got nothing to do with the matters at hand. A tangential task that steals energy and time and so many words away from what I'm supposed to have been doing.

I published a little ink-on-paper newsletter once that got me fired from a board of directors of a soon-thereafter-defunct nonprofit art organization. It was called The Cassandra Newsletter, and it was not well-received, though and probably because it foretold the end of that organization through nepotism and cronyism, which is what happened.

What orgs — like bureaucrats everywhere — fear most is not continuing to do what they are doing, even if, like governments, what they do is stupid, wrong or crazy. Within six months, that organization had completely forgot who it was, ceased to plan and produce what it was there to plan and produce, and they defiantly took their nonprofit status down the tubes with them.

I'm watching the movie between these inspirational spurts and thinking again about doing something else with my life after thirty-plus years of this, whatever this is and was. I keep being told I can't stop, but I must. If I could only find the plug, I'd pull it.

If I knew what I wanted to do next, I'd be there by now. Over the decades I've hard-knock learned that only by doing what I wanted to do did I ever learn what I needed to do. Outside need has never been my guide. Ignore my own impetus and I'm doomed. When I do what I want to do, everything falls into place, though it might take twenty years or more.

I might have that much left. I might not. But hanging around here doing this is a waste of all our efforts. Another useless endgame.
 

The Woods - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Forest or The Trees

Work went well. Very well. First time there since I broke my foot. Even got off a half hour early, in the rain, cut across town and beat a lot of traffic. I tried to go to the grocery store. But a guy in a Cadillac blocked me from getting into a parking space. He just parked in my way and honked. Apparently did not want me to park. So I turned around and left Fiesta. Food lasts longer from Whole Foods anyway — and they don't send an already out-of-date 20% off postcard the next day, so I drove there.

Easy parking. Got in, found a scooter cart because I can't walk far yet. Drove it to the produce section, put a couple pineapples in the basket. Tried to back up. No electricity. No front. No back. No light. No nothing. I was right near the front door, so I walked out, got in my car, re-detached my ortho boot, and drove home.

Ahh. Check email. Some. A woman who did not want to credit my photograph she wanted to copy to make art to donate for some charity she never managed to explain told me it wasn't worth her time to credit me one time in a quilt of my images. Said she would take her own bird picture. I applauded her originality.

Then I tried to track down a member who had sent in all the right info for a calendar entry, so I could link her name to her member page, and there was no member index and no DallasArtsRevue.com online. Again. They guarantee 99.9% online, which they've already blown for this year, and way blown for my time with them. So now I'm on forever hold with their online chat window that has already pasted this text:

"All WestHost Representatives are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. An operator will be with you shortly" on the open chat box 14 times. So far. I can almost understand phone hold's needs to keep saying the same old thing again and again but why on this planet would a chat line need to do that. Filled the page with linear insanity.

I wanted to ask — again — how I could set up a Mirror Site on another webhost, so the next time WestHost (I've been calling them WetHose, because what knocked my and many other sites offline a week ago for three and a half days a week ago was that they hired somebody who turned on the fire sprinklers over the servers that had served my and all those other sites, instead of switching something else on or off — amateurs hiring amateurs...) Where was I? Oh, yeah. So the next time WetHose goes down and takes this site with it, people's browsers would automatically click to this site on another host.

I keep updating the number of chat box repetitions of their promise to be with me shortly in the big red number above. I don't think it's going to happen. I'll stop when I finish writing this blog entry — or in the unlikely event that the operator actually gets with me.

I've been looking — again — at another web host that I'd heard good things about. I've had such bad luck, I suspect that they're all dismal, but I need to believe that there are good ones out there. I quit Earthlink because it was so expensive compared to all these cheapies, but I never once caught them taking me offline, so maybe I should go back. Their prices are much lower now.

They also had hit counters that actually worked, and all I had to do was paste a very small image on the page. DreamHost, the last bunch, required a new code for every page. WetHose's counters on my pages zero themselves every couple of weeks. I realize that hit counters are passe in the ...

So much for a train of thought. The site came back up before my chatterer came online. His name was Scott, and he was no help and offensive. He demanded to know what made me think my site was offline? My first hint was when I tried to go there to copy Jeanne Sturdevant's DallasArtsRevue Member Page URL, so I could link her page to the beautiful job she did of submitting a show notice, including all the other artists in that show, Hecho en Dallas at the LCC. But this site did not come up. Not fast. Not slow. Not ever.

Anna is doing the organizing and finding new places to show and tell on the calendar, but I've long promised that if anybody submits show or event info correctly per the pink box on the calendar page, I'll post it within seconds of receiving it. It helped that I was home. That I checked my email. And that I was almost able to access her page to copy the URL from that top line that mystifies so many people who use browsers.

But that was the extent of my luck just then.

Then I got a reply from my emergency notice to WetHose to put me (this site; I feel ownership and strong identity; I have often claimed to be DallasArtsRevue, although lots of other people help.) back online. My question there is in text: "** SITE DOWN ** ** EMERGENCY [the only of their drop link boxes that matched my difficulty] ** What happened to the 100% Lifetime Satisfaction Promise." Your request has been assigned a ticket number of [westhost.com #XXXXXXXX]. A representative will be contacting you shortly.

Ha! Their email timed at 5:57:43 PM CST. We'll see when they get back if I'd consider it soon. I have my doubts.

Then I heard my phone ring. My phone service has been down since Friday, when AT&T — or some amateur they hired, cut a cable, so I and 499 of my neighbors' phones did not work all weekend. In fact, until a few minutes ago. I checked earlier. This ring was from some idiot trying to sell me something.

I spoke vile profanity to her recorded voice, then thanked her for her patience.

 

Jenkins Delta - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

conceptual art attributed to the late Dallas photographer Tom Jenkins
Kinetic Object   Part One   780
wood, nails, screws, bolts, wheel, pully and motor
30.75 x 12.5 inches high (excluding wheel and bolts)

When I saw this on my front porch, I knew it had something to do with my friend, Dallas artist and Urban Archeologist Alex Troup, but I couldn't twist my mind into believing it was his art, which is usually smaller, finer crafted, often involves text, carefully finished colored surfaces and, lately, muted tones. It did not fit what I know of as his style. Whatever or whoever's it was, I liked it immediately. Next thought, where to put it.

There's a corner in the living room that I'd considered for Jim Starr's spider before parking that piece into a much bigger space in another corner. I hefted this heavy object onto the plastic wagon Anna gave me to haul groceries and pulled the ungainly thing into my home. Anna helped steady the unbraked wagon to lift the object into. Later, when she'd gone and I'd positioned the wagon into the corner and unloaded it, I nearly dumped the top-heavy clunk into a glass bookcase and worried it might crash through the front wall.

It was, I now know, too heavy to move alone, and its raw edges marred my floor, though I hope not permanently. I tried to remember where I'd left my felt sliders, though it would take a lot. I'll need them for its next push across the floor.

It fits in that corner angled between couch and love seat, but it doesn't sit well there. Looks awkward. Retains little of the raw charm it had on the front porch. Wherever I've photographed it, it's contrasted well with the floor, but it needs more space, something I don't have a lot of.
 

Caldwell Treadle - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

attributed to Tom Jenkins   "The Caldwell Chunk" — Part Two  
actual title unknown   mixed mediums
   780

The next day, part two arrived further back on my porch. I'd noticed bared white wires hanging near the dark hump under the first piece, and wondered if I could adapt a plug and what would happen when I plugged it in.

The new chunk has matching white bared-end wires, a light-switch on one end, a wall plug, chrome handle, and what might be a heat-dissipation plate on the large rectangular end. The whole is undisguisedly screwed and bolted together with what looks like bare particle board except for a penciled "5 1/4" on the left end, "CALDWELL" on the right and "PRIME" stamped in dark ink on one rough lumber leg.

The Caldwell Chunk appears to be a treadle. Primitive but effective. Push down the rectangular wood foot-lever and the thin wire at either end twists on the tiny protruding axle middle of the five screws attaching it to the chunk. Likely attenuating the power transfer to the motor when I wind and tape the bare ends of the white wires.

Might have been better if both portions had the same or complementary outsides, but it looks good enough. The angular board on this side looks like a treadle. When I pushed it down with my hand, the wrapped central bolt twists a delicate balance of wire from both ends.
 

The Heat Dissipation End   780

The more I think about this odd object that arrived on my doorstep, the more likely it seems created as art. Its practicality is limited, but what it actually accomplishes is hardly utilitarian. The black enclosed motor slung under the tapered end torques the pulley bolted on top, and a rubber belt turns the rusted, black wheel with its gleaming bright nuts and bolts. That's a good chunk of metal to be flinging in unprotected circles.

Not entirely unlike the wheel potters spin wet clay on to keep everything symmetrical, smooth and moving. Except there's no platform — just that very obvious car part on top, and it is not nearly tall enough to sit or stand and work at.

Soon I will connect the wires and stare at it in wonder and hope it holds together and doesn't fling chunks of itself in all directions — although mayhaps I should haul it back to the porch or backyard first. Then maybe have a little party for its maiden voyage. Or just think about it till my broken foot heals, and I can run really fast.

The day after the second chunk's delivery, in an email to Anna, Alex said, "I dropped off art at J R's. It is heavy — Tom Jenkins, who died 14 months ago, left it with a friend of his who then gave it to me. Mr Jenkins was the staff photographer at the D.M.A for 12 years. He either made the kinetic art piece or someone made it for him."

I've contacted a friend who knew the Jenkins, and I thought I might have learned more through her. But Mrs. Jenkins says "they do not look like his work. If he did construct the objects, it was well before I met him in 1993. Until it is determined that these are truly his work, then please remove his name from the pieces." Which I have done.

I remember Tom's work at 500X in the 80s. It involved simplified visual puns. Objects that first looked like something else. Upon scrutiny revealed nothing of the sort. There was a series of stripped truck tire treads on the side of the road that looked like animals and reptiles. Not sure where or if this fits in that aesthetic trajectory.
 

Onward Through The Fog - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Onward, Through the Fog!   D300

I am an historian: I have rarely claimed this site as news, but since the very beginning I have recognized it as history. Pretty much had to when my early monthly schedule slipped into quarterly, then never managed to come out more than three times a year when it was printed on paper. Now, I change things whenever I can / need to / think about it / etc.

Struggling for deadlines seems a waste of time and energy, so this site is mostly history, although some of what appears on the Calendar does have the whiff of news. For awhile. As in the rest of my life, I never throw anything away. If history is an accumulation, this site is historic.

Lately, I have once again allowed myself to become embroiled in the Who Really Founded D-Art? Imbroglio, as if I needed more conflict in my life. I have two competing stories about who founded that institution that is now more unlike what it was founded to be than ever in its histories. Though it still has great potential, I'm not sure why anyone would want to claim that they founded the fool thing it is now.

But they do. I feel it my duty, since I was involved with both ACT (who published this magazine very early in its history) and D-Art (member, official archivist, sullier of innocence) I have gathered a Timeline based on historical documents from both when I was — briefly — the official Archivist for D-Art (even if it was actually the Dallas Visual Arts Center then, just before it changed its name yet again to the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art).

Not exactly certain, but I believe that the transition of names is chronolocially as follows: D-ART, D'Art, D-art, DVAC (Dallas Visual Art Center), and the Contemp (Dallas Center for Contemporary Art), although the board may have changed it again in the last few minutes.

I'm not promoting the ACT-D-Art Timeline on the cover yet, and it is still incomplete, but I am linking it here out of my perverse sense of anarchy. I really wanted to link it somewhere, and the email I just sent to the writers of two opposing versions of who founded it, just wasn't enough for me. I have, this far in this year's version of a controversy that has extended nearly a decade, exchanged 121 emails on the subject. And counting.

For my own organizational purposes, I am classifying all those missives as HERstories, because oddly (or maybe nearly evenly, because they comprise 51% of all of us), all the major persons in this story are women. Not his story but hers. Theirs.

I keep hoping I can lay the thing to rest with enough finality not to have to come back to it, but it doesn't seem likely as long as one side had historic facts on its side, and the other leans firmly on emotion, although both sides probably think the same of each other. I'd link the latest story here, but I'm not finished editing it yet, and some of its facts aren't true.
 

Snow Photographer - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snow Photographer shot from Anna's car   D300

The ordeal of the broken foot continues. I still get surprisingly tired when I car bird, but I am driving. I don't have to wear the ortho boot when I sleep at night anymore, so I sleep better at night, but I still tend to stay up late. It is a mere 2:10 ayem as I type this. But I will retire earlier than usual, because I'm already weak and sleepy. I car birded, never getting out for a better angle, and bought gas hopping on my other foot. Drove up the west side of the lake bird pixing, then got a medium no-sugar-added Rum Raisin frozen yogurt on Mockingbird. Big treat.

Drove home and crashed and crashed and crashed. Every time I woke I woke up sleepy, and let me down again. Begged off theater, then much later watched a strange little Japanese movie, some Olympics and talked with an unidicted co-conspirator. Then rested more. I haven't gained any weight since I broke my foot, but I miss swimming — I'd go if I could figure out how to get out of the pool. Getting in doesn't seem much of an issue, even if I can't dive or jump. Down is so much easier. Even if I can't stand on more than my left foot. Getting out seems hopelessly complex since I cannot bear weight on it.

I do barbells, but I've misplaced one (Guess I had to say that to find it). I'd got up to 26 deep knee bends, down to thighs parallel with the floor, back up anchoring two 20-pound barbells. I loved doing that and miss it. Glad I was into those just before I fractured the foot. Made getting up from floors, tubs, chairs, etc. so easier. Oddly fortuitous happenstance. Hoping forward it again. I'll settle on 30 total every other day. But that will take awhile, since just driving around for an hour or so tires my bones.

Several of the dozen health sites I visited when it was apparent my foot was broken, not just strained, said I should increase calorie intake five times. Except diabetics don't get to do that, so I walk (ha!) a fine line. Bought — back in my wheelchair weeks — nearly every vitamin (D & E) and tissue-and-bone rebuilding compound I learned online. Eating 1/3 fresh pineapple a day for something in them that grows bones. Even got a stubbornly complicated Homeopathic medicine dispenser that I eventually learned how to pop out tiny white balls that taste like round candy. Covering all the bases.

Leaning leftward, as always, I can stand barefooted on level floor now. But I can't walk to or from it without the boot. I previsualized putting the boot on, walking out to Blue — I was startled and amazed yesterday when I got it Inspected. No problem save the spare wiper I had in the back seat needed attaching driver side, even though I had dreaded going and worried about it passing for weeks since it got to be February — taking off the boot with my foot on the ground, then swinging bare foot in to accelerate right and brake with my left foot.

Cold those first few days, now I do it all interior. Quicker each time, but I'm still clunky slow.

So I'm street legal and thump around on solid ground with my boot. Independent at last. Another step, so to speak, on the road to recovery. It still hurts often and swells at night, so I raise it on two pillows. Can raise it for movies or TV but not to type, mouse or scroll. Today was the second consecutive without Rx Codeine-flavored Acetaminophen, so maybe my mind's clearing.

I was thinking and talking about fog. Then the Netflick I watched had lots, so maybe I'm onward through it — unless I put that foot down suddenly like I have so many thousands of times this life. Might be built-in my balance system, but I've avoided that plague all but thrice so far.

Progress. Definitely progress.
 

Can't Have It Both Ways - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Can't Have It Both Ways   D300

I'm working on another story in the saga of Saint Patricia of the Meadows. Who, along with the retiring director and board of directors of The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, continues to claim she co-founded D-ART in 1978 with Judy Smith-Hearst, even though there was no D-ART in 1978 or 1979. Maybe in late 1980 or mid 1981.

Artists Coalition of Texas was incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation in 1977. Officers of Incorporation were Secretary Grace Johnson, President Mary Albrecht (both deceased now) and Terrisa Mabrey. Not a Ward, Meadows, Hearst or Smith in the bunch. If someone founded it back then, you'd think they'd be in that list. Founding it later makes it okay to have missed that early roll call.

The story I'm working on now was written by somebody who was there and had the intelligent sense of history to keep documents, several of which manifest rather important points in this bug in my soup. Any time you get tired of me going on about it, re-read Sam Clemmon's quote on this site's Contact Us page for journalistic perspective.

I have documents that show in 1978 and 1979 neither Patricia nor Judy were even helping the Artists Coalition of Texas, when they both claim to have founded it. ACT, the nonprofit organization that later changed its name to D-ART do what they were doing then wasn't even around when ACT began working with the City to create an art center for Dallas, which is what D-Art used to be.

I hope when I am finished with that particular suite of pages (with copious documentation I've never yet copiously documented with), I will never have to write another word or upload another page about this pretentious and prejudicial prevarication. Oh, please God and The Universe and Whatever Else Is Out There looking down on me ... No more  she did... she didn't... found... lost... foundering...

Meadows did help D-ART immensely after it had begun and had fired Mary Ward, who spearheaded and Project Directed and, oh, yeah, probably founded the move to change ACT, which was dedicated to educating artists in Texas and Oklahoma, into D-ART, which was dedicated to creating an Art Center for Dallas, even if Patricia did not participate until it was D-ART.

Immensely. She did scut work. She did paperwork. She raised funds. She organized exhibitions, hung them, lighted them. Did all the work available at one Swiss Avenue art center and the next for years and years. I think she should be named the Patron Saint of The Contemp. But she was not its founder. And she knows she wasn't. But that doesn't stop her and Joan and the board and others related and unrelated from claiming that she was. Something is wrong with a lying saint, but she hasn't been sanctified yet, and a lot of saints were low lifes before they got beatified — pro nunced "be at if I'd."

Sure, she's the sentimental favorite. After she or somebody close fired the real founder and made it difficult for the real founder to work in this city, the real founder left town. Haven't heard from her since. Nobody I know has. I'm sure she did well wherever else she went. She did good here, and they tried to destroy her. Don't blame her much for leaving. Probably she wouldn't have cared for what The Contempt is now any more than I do. Debuting a jinormous new Dallas space with an overlarge new show by an L.A. artist — gag me with a shovel.

Judy Smith-Hearst was Mary Ward's friend. Was. Until Mary got fired for screwing up the insurance on D-Art's first big show — and dating a married City official. Then Mary was written out of D-ART history and Patricia and Judy wrote themselves in.

It doesn't seem fair.
 

Casa Blanca from the telephoto version of the wide-angle I-30 Series on my Member page
shot the very next day from the same window in the same speeding automobile.    D300

Having a major website — 1,200 pages+, according to some troubling statistics — offline for two days was confounding and confusing and maddening. I kept changing pages, as I always do. But I couldn't upload them, because there wasn't a space on a hard-drive server somewhere in inter-space with DallasArtsRevue.com's name on it. Nothing there, when I used my ftp software to file transfer protocol some new tidbit of info or outfo.

Stymieing [Surely they could come up with a better way to spell that]. Maddening. Did I say that already? Kept me from doing the usual updates, changes, mea culpas.

Two days of miring myself into all this foundering stuff, the site shows back up online. Anna told me it was back. I'd got tired of my FTP-ware fizzing when it couldn't get through. The sort of buzz that rattles through one's body like a dentist's drill slopping out a root canal. Ouch like an electric chair rearranging one's innards. Too hurtful for another rematch. I asked her how she did it. Magic, she said.

I believed.

Now, if I can just get WetHose to put back all my hit counters.
 

Dark Shapes - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dark Shapes   D300

Not succeeding watching a sound-tracked slide show of the late Dallas artist Veronica De Anda Tosten linked on the Calendar page, I wondered what music I'd want representing my post demise. First tune popped to mind was Michael Hurley's The Werewolf, done badly earlier by The Holy Modal Rounders. His has always scintillated. Only just now heard Cat Power's v. Several of HMR's would be appropriate, The Cuckoo, Euphoria, Hesitation Blues, Crowly Waltz. Southern Jukebox Music by Penguin Cafe Orchestra gets played times of emotional transition, very anthem-like. It always feels like moi.

Most of the visuals on these links are less-than, and sometimes the movie audios intrude. Sorry. It's the best I could do without myself voiding any copyrights. Listen to what you can stand and remember what a great guy I was and marvel at my ecclectic musical taste ...

So does Stevie Ray Vaughan tripping Jimi Hendrix' Voodoo Child (Slight Return) all 8+ minutes played really loud. Robert Mitchum's The Ballad of Thunder Road from the movie I saw when I was a teenager. Almost any Bluegrass Gospel tune, like Were You There When They Crucified My Lord or Bluegrass Cardinals' Just A Little Talk with Jesus. I never got the religion, but I love that high whine harmony. Bluegrass came upon me after driving through Oklahoma on my way to visit TJ and Steve in Washington DC.

Chet Atkins' Vincent and Hot Mockingbird. He and Les Paul playing Caravan, even without a drum solo. Dave Brubeck's Take Five, 3 2 Get Ready and Pick Up Sticks. Emmylou Harris dueting with George Jones on All Fall Down and with Gram Parsons on Love Hurts. Eric Satie's Gymnopédie No.1. Oof. Jimmy Dale Gilmore's My Mind's Got A Mind of Its Own. Boy, howdy. Grateful Dead's Box of Rain. Janis Joplin still with Big Brother & The Holding Company woop-whooing through Combination of the Two.

Rufus Wainright singing Leonard Cohen's Halleluja when that movie came out last couple years. Lucinda Williams' dead sad Blue from my Blue mix of her saddest songs with those amazing guitarists. Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings Duck Walk at high volume. The Fugs' Wide Wide River (mine's faster and doesn't have pictures, but you get the idea — another anthem). The Byrds' Pale Blue. Deep Vibrations' Tennesee Rose— not as classic as Hank Williams' Tenessee Waltz, but haunting in its own way, Frankie Ford's Sea Cruise. Itzhak Perlman Professional/Klezmer Suite/Ale. Jefferson Airplane Somebody to Love. Pot's On, Gas On High and Endless Boogie, Parts 27 & 28 with John Lee Hooker and all those guitar players I fell in love with in my Underground Newspaper years. Louis Armstrong I'm A Ding-Dong Daddy from Dumas that my Mom used to sing. Low Anthem's evocative Charlie Darwin and something from The Cheap Suit Serenaders... Oh why not, My Girl's Pussy?

Beatle's Elenor Rigby. The Tantum Ergo from my collection sounds just a little better than this one, although this guy's okay. Jimmy Durante's Inka Dinka Doo and Jimminy Cricket's When You Wish Upon A Star sung by Cliff Edwards. Townes Van Zandt doing what he called "a medley of his hit" better than EmmyLu or Willie's. Patsy Cline I Fall to Pieces or really anything by her. The fascinating C&W parallel of Jim Stafford Swamp Witch and Tony Joe White's Conjure Woman. Tito Puente's 8 Timbales from Exitos Eternos. Bob Dylan and Ralph Stanley's The Lonesome River or Bob's Blind Willie McTell. Joanie Mitchell mumbling through Coyote in The Last Waltz. The Rolling Stones' Sister Morphine, Paint It Black and Message To Turner, if not Lady Jane. Stone Savage Band's fabulous Bernal down a Dallas street from their West Dallas Suite I made a video of with Nancy all arty and blurs.

Anything from my Incredible Incredible String Band mix, especially This Moment (but not the really awful one at Woodstock) or Partially Belated Overture. 96 Teardrops - ? & The Mysterions. The Trogg's Wild Thing. Hoagy Carmichle singing Stardust. Cranberries' anthemic Zombie. Mozart Piano Quartet in G minor K.478 or Piano Sonata or/and Torben Waldorff playing Alice that was free on Amazon last year. Duane Eddy's Detour. Octa Clark & Hector Duhon's fabulous Freight Train Blues. Reverend Horton Heat Callin' In Twisted, another online freebie. Karen Dalton's startling Katie Cruel. Psyche Soap from The Trip movie with Peter Fonda I saw in the early 70s. Darktown Strutters Quakertown.

Mink DeVille Cadillac Walk. Nickel Creek's haunting Out Of The Woods and Alison Krause Down By the River to Pray from that strange little movie whose purpose had to be to bring all that music back into the world. Ry Cooder & Ali Farka Touré' s Bonde. Either Madame George or Slim Slow Slider from Van Morrison's first Astral Weeks album. I Went Out Of My Way to See You by former Dallas performance artist Bill Meadows, even if it's a fairly obvious Laurie Anderson rip. Rhett Butler slurring Für Ellise into The House of the Rising Sun. The link's a live performance, but it's better on the CD. Amazing guy to watch.

Allen Toussaint's fully orchestrated Yes We Can. And, of course, Ernest Tubb's hit version of Waltz Across Texas that Anna and I still dance to sometimes. Jesse Mae Hemphill and Gatemouth Brown's Black Cat Bone and maybe ten minutes or so of Tuva Throat music. Pink Floyd's Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave And Groving With A Pict from Umaguma.

After I'd got all this writ, I realized I could link many of the tunes, so I went back and turned this entry into a sea of blue. At the wake, by time I'd want Bluegrass Reunion's Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone played, everybody should have gone home.

1972 hits to this page when I wrote it. Dumb bunnies at Wet Hose keep screwing up my hit counts.

Eeyore on the Right Speaker - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eeyore on the Right Speaker    SD780

The good news, doc said, nothing was broken. The bad: I had at least two fractures, up and down the extended little toe, itself nearly the length of the foot's far edge, where it hurts most and was most swollen. As he installed a big, black velcro-mania boot near up to my knee, the tall tech from Orthopedics told me it would heal in two months.

Later, I learned that a break is a fracture, and a fracture is a break. It's all a matter of degree. Gotta wonder about doctors.

With the boot, I can put pressure on my right foot, as he wants me to, and almost walk. Shuffle-step, walk, clunk, walk-clunk, which is more efficient — though still a little worrisome — than bump bump bumping with the too-oft-painted NOTES stool.

Every time I say bump-bump-bump, it reminds me of Pooh, my patron saint before Disney stole his meek little soul. Age five till maybe ten, I was a huge A.A. Milne fan, revisited in college. Still have the torn and crayon-scribbled brown book with browned full-acid pages of Christopher Robin and the gang, before they were Disney toys. Eeyore and Tigger both on right speakers in different rooms here.

Hope to rent a wheelchair to see Art Fair and oh, something else I forget, in smooth, Big Wheel glory. Got to play with one at the VA today. That part of waiting five hours for socialized medicine was fun.

  

My Right Foot - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

My Right Foot   sd780

I find myself suddenly and very temporarily — I sure hope — unable to walk, even room to room (story elsewhere). Over today, since I fell off the porch — going up it half-hazardly, twisting my ankle seriously out from under me, sprawling my body out and down on my back out nearly under my car. I stayed down there to catch breath and sanity. Several minutes. Didn't ever exactly remember how it all happened. Crawled up those same short stairs, sat up, stood tippingly, hobbled up and inside, kept my foot up, napped out.

Over the day I've progressed from standing on it — a big, stupid, excruciating mistake. To hopping, walking wobbily with a tripod for a crutch, crawling (certainly the safest mode), scuttling around on a decrepit wheeled office chair, and best of all, pushing a stool I've had since my days as an underground newspaper editor, stretched out in front of me like a walker, hopping on the left, keeping the right club air-bouncing. Bump, bump, bump.

In this photo, my right foot is pinkish and spotted with the freezing water it's just been dunked under for maybe five minutes. I tried to hold them evenly, but that right one wouldn't behave. Painful to get it this close, like it didn't want to be there, and I don't blame it. I still think the second toe might be broken. Again. But I don't want to test it. Not there's anything can be done about it, except let it hurt itself out.

It exceeds my strongest pain-killer. At the VA they always want to know how much it hurts, "on a scale from one to ten." I've broken ribs, splattered a spleen, punctured lungs, had my head bounced off immovable objects — all those fun things that make great stories later. I'd say 7. Still does whenever it nudges from absolute stable.

I just looked. It's still pink.
 

Prayer Flags in a Jumble - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tangled Prayer Flags   D300

I'm really lousy at Facebook but now, finally, my forum there asking What Dallas Artist or Artists have inspired you? is beginning to net intelligent posts. It's just a beginning. There's only three now, and some — well, they're worth reading — but I'm pleased to see that Discussion begin.

As I write this after having checked on that other page, no one has tripped into the dangerous waters of answering What they like or dislike most about DallasArtsRevue. I could fill the page ...

But it just seems wrong to have to shill here in ThEdblog for a Facebook Discussion that's supposed to [in part] promote this site. I know I don't understand social networking — as much as I love talking with artists about art — any better than I understand dressing up for formal occasions, but isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

How I originally promoted DallasArtsRevue.com was handing out business cards at openings and meetings. I remember having to explain what that the "www" was understood on that tiny promo card. Even I did not at that early beginning, understand that the www was always superfluous. http://DallasArtsRevue.com works as well as http://www.DallasArtsRevue.com or, for that matter, as http://DallasArtsReview.com.

Most of the images on this page are only very tenuously illustrative of the entry under them. These two sets of prayer flags came unbidden in the mail, and they were carefully separated on my front porch till I had that place repainted [below]. The painters took it down, and since it's been back up, it has always been twisted.

Like most people's prayers [story on my personal site written in 1988] I suppose.
 

Plastic Pumkin on the Porch - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Plastic Pumpkin on the Porch   D300

Anna's just posted DallasArtsRevue's fan page on Facebook. I'm still Fb-stupid, and just getting across what she needed from me for it was a challenge, but minutes after I finally produced and sent off a stacked DallasArtsRevue logo, Anna posted the page, and I had only a couple days ago invited any and everybody who's ever attempted to Fb friend me to become a fan.

Perhaps that fan page will become the open forum for discussions pertinent to what DARts covers. I've wanted one of those ever since pre-FB friends told me about interesting discussions they participated in on other art community sites. I didn't think I needed to sit and watch those things for off-color and/or off-topic posts, but now Anna will do that.

I'd love for DARts readers to complain about what, how or whether DARts covers what's of interest to them. I could learn from that. But it will be of great interest to see whatever they do talk about there. I've already set up a couple possible discussions — What Dallas Artist Has Inspired You? and What do you like best or least about DallasArtsRevue? Or maybe it'll be better if somebody else started one.
 

Warning Jacket at the X - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Warning Jacket at Expo 500   D300

There's this amazing show at 500X I really need to be writing about, but instead I've been obsessively writing, rewriting and re-rewriting a page about cameras and lenses. It started out with some information I've wanted to impart for a long time. But nowhere on DallasArtsRevue or JRCompton.com was the right place.

I've long wanted to teach again. But I don't want to have to deal with institutions or institutional managers. So I teach when I write. Sometimes. In this site's Resources section, I have several teaching pages. How Tos. How to Photograph Art, How to Design and Distribute an Invitational Postcard. Someday I always think I'll write about How to Promote Your Art, but I've had lots of chances, and I haven't yet.

I taught photography in the Air Force and at El Centro. And I love to teach people about their cameras, especially cameras I've never seen before. It's like computers; once I know what can be done — and I've known that about cameras for decades — I can figure out how that camera does it, and show its owner. I call that teaching, and it's a small, short example of what I want to do.

How to Photograph Art has become surprisingly popular. It comes up near or at the top of search engine queries for 'how to photograph art.' So I've been putting a lot of energy into it. The new cameras and lenses pages started out there.

I rarely respond to a perceived need. I write what I need to write. And lately I've been obsessed with writing about cameras and lenses. A week or so ago, I took the Camera story off the How to Photo Art page and started it on its own. A few days after that, I reorganized it, so artists were in it from the top.

But it's largely about the cameras and lenses I use or have used or want to use. It's more that I'm sharing my experience than telling people what camera to buy. I talk about some. I describe what I like about them, and I provide lots of links to sites and pages that explain things better than I could.

I hope readers will gather enough info from it to make their own decisions. I hope somebody is interested enough to read it. But I never really find that out till I've quit obsessing about it and have nearly forgot it. Then I check it one day while looking for something else and see it's either become quite popular or that nobody cared.
 

White Feather - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Feather Tinged in Blood   SD780

Since I started splattering every photograph (except those featuring art by somebody else) I post on the net with what you see at the bottom of my images above, I get more requests to use my photos and fewer thefts. The most interesting recent request came from a person who writes "a blog on creativity and entrepreneurship" asking if she could use one of my photos of a crow to illustrate her blog.

She claimed it was "without any commerciality so we don't have any money and maintain the blog just because we like to share our knowledge. Therefore there is no budget to pay for any photo material..." I never know what to do with these requests. Generally, I go on vibes, which usually turns out the intelligent course of action, though there's often no logic to it.

Still, I need to buy more lenses and cameras and software and computers, and my office's ceiling is falling down, etc, and it's nice to show the IRS each year that I am actually engaged in the commerce of photography, so my many expenses against it count for something.

So I have to feel good about somebody's request to allow free use, though I often do. Then I snapped. This person was blogging about [I have to really be careful about typing this foreign concept and spelling] entrepreneurship, yet she had no money. I thought that a great cosmic joke and told her so.

The joke, of course, was on me. I waited to respond till I could figure out what to ask for. It usually takes awhile to calm down after such overt put-downs — they want to use my photograph(s), but they don't want to pay and often don't even want to credit. A little promo might help the waning popularity on my bird journal but that would take more words than most bloggers would care to sacrifice for one good image, and I am in the photo biz to be able to afford to stay in the photo biz, and it's unlikely her readers would care a whit about birds.

In the end, the day and a half I waited was too much for them. They used another photo. I thanked her.
 

Air Bubble Trapped Under the Ice - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Air Bubble Trapped Under the Ice at White Rock Lake   D300

Slowly, gradually, I am figuring out what to do during the rest of and after DallasArtsRevue. I expect to be chief high mucky-muck for awhile yet (it does still belong to me, after all), though my grip on these things — and everything else, probably — will loosen over time. As it should.

I'm hoping to introduce new writers. Especially young writers. To this publication. And not just by hoping they'll be so kind as to donate their talents. Nope, I'm finally up from poverty level, so I'm going to negotiate pay with whom I can find who's willing to write opinions, not just news. I'll take the pix, if needed, and nobody will worry terribly about deadlines, as usual.

In its heyday back in the 1980s and 90s, DallasArtsRevue published stories by many — nearly eighty overall — contributors, many of whom are listed on A Short History of DARts. Some of whose first art criticism efforts were here, and more than a few of whom have gone on. And on.

Over the last decade that number has devolved to mostly me, with occasional stories from Jim Dolan, James Michael Starr, Norman Kary, Tracy Hicks, Kaftan Zimmerman, Michael Helen, Ken Shaddock, Kathy Dello Stritto, Anne Gordon Perry (and I keep finding more) including the ever elusive Art Shirer.

And yes, I realize that list has always been too male. Worse, and even more important to the longevity of this rag, I and all the other guys are too old, so the future of DallasArtsRevue is dependent upon attracting and publishing young writers who know about young artists and their art.

According to D Magazine, I've been writing about Dallas art longer than anybody else, including Janet Kutner. So I know history and institutions and way to much about kitsch. But younger artists are sometimes nearly invisible, so we need younger eyes

Lizard in the Tail Lights - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lizard in the Tail Lights   Nikon D300

Talked way too much tonight about my need to tell true stories — being the at center of my journalism. What makes me do it. Keeps me at it. This deep need to tell all. DallasArtsRevue

While dodging me photographing her, Pavlina Panova told me fellow Bulgarian Edith Baker told her, to listen to what I said about her art, because I tell truth there. I remember those moments. I wanted out of there but couldn't flee, regroup. I spoke quickly. I liked this. Did not like that. I told why. I don't remember many details.

Not that I don't lie. I'm human. We all lie. For the same reasons. Self-importance. Look cool. Get out of trouble. Earn money or respect. Probably things deeper.

I knew my father as truth-teller. I wanted to be known that way, too. Tried once writing fiction at the U of Dallas. Got an A. Had been told an A there meant I could get it published, but it was sappy. Student work. Stumblish.

Real is so much more interesting. Replete. Don't have to fit it together. It is together. Gotta tell enough of the story that it feels real. I like the rhythms and phrasings of great fiction, remember The New Journalism and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood when they were new and exciting possibilities to give truth the sound of fiction. Somehow truthing outward became an inner psychological need.

Lying to myself though, is different. Too easy, hard to recognize. Nearly subliminal. Sometimes invisible. I don't catch up with it till later, when I calm down.

The need I feed by writing doesn't work if I lie. It's only iffy when I speak. I talk faster than I think straight, though what gushes forth is mostly truth, sometimes hurtful truths that are too deeply funny. Or I get full of myself... When I write, I rewrite. Delete harsh. Shorten language. Smooth thoughts. I know if I can write my truths well, they'll tell everybody's. If I dip into invective, nobody listens.

Do you like my work? someone asks. I'd rather hide, think it through, write and rewrite. Than say the easy lie that always feels wrong. Haunts me later. If I disengage the flatter factor, the truth flies out. But it needs writing down to remember. Or none of us learns from it.

Three different times tonight someone told me, "artists are afraid of you, J R." Makes sense to me. Only seems fair. A lot of artists aren't true, to themselves, to their art, to real. I've looked long enough I can tell. I do tell. May be why I'm here. To tell.
 

fuzzy door - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Trees   Forest   Door   SD 780
 

Last thing many artists, floated by the fatuous flattery of friends, want to hear is truths about their art they've never seen nor sought to know or truly understand.

Some of the real artists whose truths I've told, tell me my words helped them understand. Eventually most agree that I was fair. The director at The MAC told me last night she agreed that my assessment of her last member show's theme, "XV" was "brain dead." We gotta be real. To learn. To make better art.

Some readers just want to know what I think. Not every artist is afraid of me writing about their work. Unlikely as it may be. I don't write about really bad stuff anymore. I'm light entertainment to some. A blip to others. No way even someone showing credible fear should try to stop me from being whom I think I should be, like I expect them to be who they need to be.

The only way to control my need to tell is either write more or stop. Write about something else — birds. cameras. Or Edit, edit, rewrite. Sit on it awhile. Go at it again later. Like this story, which may flow now, but came out turgid. Had to thin and think it through. A little pro and little con never balances.

Full-bore truthing is the only way it sets me free. Like lying to oneself, without serious reconsideration and concentration, nobody first-person-singular sees the troubled art they make. Neither making art, nor writing about it engages anything objective.

As Marty Ray says, "it's just some guy's opinion."
 

Ying-Yang Faucet Sink - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ying-Yang Sink Tornado   SD 780

Someone told me tonight that DallasArtsRevue members are not showing up at the top of Google searches any more. So I did simple Google Searches on these names, off the top of my head: Richard Ray, Marty Ray, Anna Palmer, Kathy Robinson Hays, Kathy Boortz, T.Stone, Fannie Brito, Rebecca Boatman, Kapil Dixit, Dean Corbitt, Bob Nunn, Nancy Ferro, Chris Bergquist Fulmer, Matt Kaplinsky, Susan Lecky, Pavlina Panova, TJ Mabrey, Ken Shaddock, James Michael Starr, Jeanne Sturdevant.

And every one of them came up in the top seven links Google fed me. Very often they were at the top. Each linked to a DallasArtsRevue page. I didn't look up every DallasArtsRevue member. It's 3:24 ayem as I write this. After writing that soul-shredding stuff above. And finding photos for them both. I'm tired.

DallasArtsRevue members are more Googleable than other artists. Other people. It's true.

Oddly I did not even think of using my own name. When I Googled it, it came up first my personal web site, which was cheering. Second my photographic vitae exhibitions page on my personal website — great. Third my member page on this website — wow. Recent photographs. That is nice. Fourth the DallasArtsRevue home page — I like it; I like it. And fifth some other guy named JR's 1936 Plymouth Coupe conversion from a pile of rust.

I have soy-ten-ly, to enunciate my childhood heros, The Three Stooges, got more google-able by being here, and the step-by-step linked from that last link to one wild ride is vastly enviable. Nice just to be close to it on Google Search. Nice indeed.
 

Blue Crevice with Giraffe - Photograph Copyright 2010 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Crevice With Giraffe

Anna volunteered to do the Calendar, which is a momentous occasion for me. I love having the calendar page but I hate doing it, and as a result of me not doing it, and especially not doing it well, readership of that page is down considerably.

I'd been wanting to ditch the whole page, but it is an important page for this site. It is the most likely place where members' names can be linked to their member pages, and thus to promote their art and greatly improve their googleability, which may be the best of all possible benefits of membership.

So having a good calendar page is essential. Whether I want to do it, is out of the realm of discussion. DallasArtsRevue has to have one, and a good one.

But just listing a bunch of events is not enough. Well, it's enough for art shows and events in places everybody already knows where are or can find them quickly on the Art Space Information Page, but we are attempting to expand our coverage of that page to other types of events.

Today's example is a class. I gave up on getting people to send me class info in a way I could easily use it. I tried, could not get class-producers to bother following direct information. Like they can give a class, but they can't follow instructions...

So we have to take the info we get about classes, and make a coherent class listing from that. One came in yesterday. They gave a link to their site, ignoring that anybody else (like me, who tried it) would not be able to find a link there to a page detailing that particular class.

I have always tried to give my readers the best links. Not the links people who aren't thinking straight send, where we might eventually find our way to the specific class, but the link that takes them directly there. Generic links are a common problem with many of the events that are listed on the calendar page.

It's a chore to track down the specific page that readers will need to find out about a specific class (or whatever). I used to have a facility for tracking that stuff down, but by hating doing it and thus not doing it, I lost the facility. Now I have to teach someone else how to do something I don't know how to anymore. Another challenge.

It might look like a simple task, but it gets more and more complex as one thinks it through, and I have been wanting less and less to think that stuff through.

 

Black & White in Christmas Color - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black & White in Christmas Color   sd780

There's a letter from former museum director, later free-lance exhibition curator, Paul Rogers Harris on this year's new Feedback page recommending that I archive DallasArtsRevue.com on paper.

In response to my dear friend, long-time DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member, mentor and sometimes contributor to this rag, I pointed out a few of the very different design and presentation requirements of on-paper publications vs. online. Those differences are vast and nearly insurmountable.

Making a DVD copy of this site would work as well or better than this website does, except that it would not be constantly and inconsistently updated. Publishing 1200+ pages on paper would be a nightmare — expensive, time-consuming and, because of the numerous qualitative and format differences from ink to pixels, ugly.

When I finally put this publication online, I didn't just — as many publications then were and some still do — copy the paper version onto the web. I had already done several websites, put a couple newsletters online and completely redesigned amateur sites, so I understood hyperlinks, internet image considerations and basic navigation — although I got better at it over the decade since.

I still laugh at print publications who just throw up what they have onto this amazing, yet-young technology, and I use the barf reference purposely. The internet is a paradigm-changer. Murdering more trees to publish websites in six-centuries-ago technology is absurd.

Besides, I'm not yet ready or willing to entirely let go of this wild pig.

My plans are to keep it going, certainly keep it online. I've always known it was a history, not a news publication. It's okay if it just sits there for awhile from time to time.

Anna Palmer is taking over the Calendar. We're pretty sure she'll last longer and keep at it. I'll still throw in some local color, photographs and art opinions. As D Magazine pointed out when they named me Dallas' Best Local Arts Promoter a few years back, I have been publishing stories about art in Dallas longer than anybody else here, and it would not only be a shame to blow that off, I still got lots to say.

Just that I'm tired of doing everything else to hold this site together and drag it into this new century.

Anna reminds me that I say the same thing after every DallasArtsRevue exhibition, but I am so tired of producing exhibitions in other people's spaces (and see no purpose in getting my own). The transition from on-paper publications to in-pixel presentations is similar in many ways to the jump to online exhibitions, but I'm eager to give those a serious try. As if I hadn't been dabbling and experimenting in this form for all of this century so far.

See also DARts Archives and A Short History of DallasArtsRevue.

 

Handy Living Room Rainbow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton   Handy, Living Room Rainbow   digital photograph   December 27 2009   sd780

Another page I expect, sooner or later, to put together involves the thinking — or not thinking — that goes into making art and making oneself an artist.

Style

Style is what happens when you keep doing what you need to do with what you've got to make art.

Eventually you get better at it, and other people start calling it your style, but you still have no idea what that is or what it looks like, and probably not even what you did to make it happen. And by the time you start thinking you do know what it is, you'll change subtly or overtly, by accident or by design, and you still won't have a clue.

Style has to do with doing, not thinking or planning. More to do with others' perception, and nearly nothing to do with what you think you put into it.

It stops being style when you work it — and not your art — to make more that'll sell like those others did.


As architect I.M. Pei said, "If you are true to yourself, you have a signature, and that signature will come out."

More about this style thing is explicated in my review of Norman Kary's summer 2009 show at Craighead Green.
 

Loading Up a Car - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Meals for Wheels   sd780

I've promised myself to write about it in ThEdblog, but I haven't got past taking the pictures, which are almost nice enough, all by themselves, to go through all the trouble. Anna got the gig, and I went along, to deliver Meals on Wheels to people who needed them Christmas Day. An overall positive experience, marred heavily by idiot navigation of the online kind that feels deep idiot need to mention every sliver of highway or road even if none are in sight or matter any whatsoever.

Two meals were accounted for on our directions as 0:05 apart. Same address. New set of directions for the second one. Same address. She was standing at his bed, just inside the front door. He was barely aware. She was excited and delighted to have food but especially to have company to talk with. One of the warming, joyous moments.

Eventually, about four hours late, we delivered where people still were, Anna tripped on concrete, and we got the warm fuzzies for doing it and the cold yuckies for getting lost so often on the way.It was a mixed blessing.

Kept our minds offa art for awhile, and that alone was worth many whiles.

Sic Transit ... Art - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sic Transit ... Art — on The Red Line North   sd780

Ask and ye shall receive. I asked two people about the calendar. Both indicated it should continue. 100%. One, my dear Anna, said she'd do it for minimal payback. I took her up on it, sorted through the stack of postcards and forwarded email to her. Oh frabjus day! The best of both possible worlds.

Next step was to both of us learn what was needed and The DARts style, then her improvements, and I'll get to put some opinions and links back to old pages along the way. I've been re-excited about the cal page before, maybe this time, a little collaboration will go further, and we can make something webalicious of it.

womannequin at the Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Womannequins in the Bath House Closet   sd780

Throughout the life of DallasArtsRevue I have struggled to maintain a decent calendar page. Operative word: struggle. I mostly don't like doing it, and I mostly haven't done it well for years. Maybe half this century. Meanwhile, struggling against it, I have neglected the page and its original intent — to be the only art calendar page that makes sense to artists. I'm usually happier doing something else.

That latest something else has been producing two art exhibitions. The blog for those shows has been immensely popular, nearly 2,500 hits so far, and it continues, because there's more to learn and more to tell.

I thought my purpose in continuing those shows' blog would be to drive attendance to them, but I don't think so anymore. The people who attend shows are not the people who attend web pages or sites. We are different, and in the past I have read books to understand who we are and how we operate and why the web, but web books are no longer popular enough to have a bunch of new ones around for reference.

The answers, of course, are staring me in the face. Almost too close to see them. Too close for comfort.

When I published DallasArtsRevue on paper, starting back in 1979, having 180 subscribers was phenomenal. I remember 'experts' from out of town stating that there would never be more than 150 subscribers to any arts publication here, even though I had more already.

Back then, I thought my expertise was with the technology that produces publications, that the reason for any popularity I achieved with DallasArtsRevue was because I knew how to do publications, but what really sets me apart from most humans is that I have opinions and am willing to express them.

Still have, still do, but I've got muddled up in what I think I should be doing and what I want to do. Those two are growing farther apart, and I thought the DallasArtsRevue Calendar was going the way of the Dodo, until Anna volunteered to do it.

I was going to spend all day, probably all weekend, updating the calendar after all but ignoring it these last few months preparing for the shows at the Bath House through January. But even when I was putting a lot of my energies into that page, it was netting fewer and fewer hits. While me writing about art and making shows happen has far outstripped those meager numbers.

I have read and been told many times what I should do to garner subscribers, members, readers. How I should organize myself, my stories, my pages, web or other.

But what I have always done, and what I have always best succeeded at, is doing what I wanted to. Which basically comes down to combining words and photographs on pages of opinions — about art or birds or whatever. When I do that I am successful, when I stray \ and do instead what I think — or what I think somebody else thinks — I should be doing, I fail.

I've been flailing a lot lately.

There is an important portion of information on the calendar page that right now is at the top of that page, higher even than that stupid pink box imploring people with exhibitions and events to send me information about it in a form I can use. That section is slightly elevated from pure gossip and speculation, though based in truth and/or reality, and at its core lies the core strength of this publication / website / whatever.

It's the sense of community, and as I have pointed out repeatedly here and elsewhere that sense of community is based on gossip. Good gossip, bad gossip, everybody thinks they do, but nobody anywhere really has an iota of any sense about whether any of that stuff is good or bad or indifferent. I'd vote for good. Up to a point.

I just looked down at the previous story on this page under that silly picture, and see that I've again repeated myself, here talking to myself. And that sooner or later, perhaps I should read my own writing — and the writing on the wall — and stop worrying about the stupid calendar, concentrate on what I do best, take pictures of and express opinions about art.
 

Sorry We're Open - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Somewhere in Austin, Texas   sd780

I am beginning to flesh out my recently stumbled upon truth that I almost always do better — create more liked and useful product or service — when I am doing what I want to do than when I am doing what I think I ought to or what someone else insists upon telling me what to do.

Case in point. I hate updating the calendar for this site. I would have abandoned it again recently if I hadn't realized concomitantly that the calendar page is the key to having and supporting and promoting Supporting Members of this site. Without news of or including them, thus being able to link their names, so readers can link to those page, Supporting Memberships are largely either vanity or useless.

Those links to members' pages every chance I get may well be the basis of this site's popularity. On the internet, the more links there are to a site or to pages within a site, the more searchable that site becomes. Easily searchable sites are hit more often. My seemingly daft — at the time — choice to have my sites indexed by Google was most fortuitous.

And because this site is educational rather than commercial, Google only occasionally when it forgets, pastes its impertinent pertinent ads here, thus sparing me from needing to sell anything — except memberships.

I'd dearly love not having to screw with the calendar page, but this site might cease to be read and/or hit, without it. Another fine mess I've got myself into.

This whole complicated concept feeds directly into — or is fed by — the writers' dictum that the more peculiarly individualized our writing is, the more universal it is considered.
 

Captain's Prism - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Captain's Prism   sd780

I should be designing the invitational postcard for the member show coming up. I think I should be. I'm hoping I've got it safely on a back-burner — for creative effect. Don't think about it now, so I can think about it more clearly tomorrow when I get going on it.

It's still in my mind, because I feel guilty I'm not doing it, even though I bored myself silly with what I've done so far. I've got most of the important information down, even got all the names I know.

Those are all arranged on a page. Two-up so I can keep some sort of standardization going on both sides of the single card for both shows. Even though the two logos are vastly different. One show on each side, so far. The Members show and the Back-room Invitational. I felt very out-of-it about that one for awhile, but now I'm getting excited. The only real change, however, is that it's getting closer.

I still have not seen most of the work   Let's stop right there. I still have only seen one of the pieces in that show that I am supposedly curating. Like all those artists I invited who entirely ignored my invitation. Did not even reply with a "no thank-you." I don't understand that sort of behavior. Though there are probably analogs of it all through my own life.

When Paul Rogers Harris curated any of the shows he put me in, he came by and looked through what I had or I could work up in time. Sometimes my curating is looser than that. I keep writing that a lot of the process involves trust. But if I get too carried away with that notion, I could end up without work for that back room.

Which is not really a major problem. We could close off that room. We could spread the Member show back there. There are several easily accomplished possibilities. Not that I mistrust any of the artists I invited to be in that back-room. Maybe I just like to scare myself silly sometimes. It's working.

Being a hopeful pessimist can be grueling. I used to have business cards that called me a "cynical optimist." Sometimes the trust shall set you free. Sometimes it's just scary. I want to have some pictures of work in both shows, but I can't imagine them being on the same design I got so far.

So I'm being a major optimist and self-confident, to boot, to even imagine I can pull this off. But I think I can. Usually I spend a week or so on an invitation. But by the day after the day after tomorrow, I'll have finished it. too. It's just past midnight Friday ayem now. That's getting closer, too.

I'm putting this story on this page instead of on the show blog, so I can keep the image above on top of it. It would be too confusing on the Revue Blog, because it's not anybody else's work in the show, and it's not my work for the show, either. I don't think.

What that object is is a Captain's Prism. Who bought it assumed it would splatter light into pretty rainbows. But it doesn't. It's to be stuck in the deck above the Captain's quarters so it spreads day light around in those cramped, dark rooms. I think of it as a sort of magic, spreading light, intelligence, positivity.
 

Dead Daisy Earlier - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dead Daisy Down   780

Callooh! Callay! I got my little Canon SD780 back from New Jersey this frabjus day. It's much better. It's got a new body — all the dings and scuffs [shown below] are gone. The LCD is cleaned way up. The menus are different, but the serial number is the same. When they received it, they noted it as red, so I wondered if I'd get a red one back, and if anyone would notice.

But it's basic black, and it will stay warm and protected in my new, soft, gray Case Logic case. I mention the brand, because it's not flaunted. I blacked out Nikon on my Nikon strap, don't like promoting big corporations. Won't wear Nike most anything, although the Michelin Man doesn't scare me (obscure reference to a William Gibson's Pattern Recognition), but I don't mind promoting this bag for not being ostentatious or expensive ($10), very protective and eminently handy.

I'd already shot the bag, the front porch that got finished after I sent the little cam that can off, then I set up an ersatz close-up table and shot my precious dead flowers (again; I shoot them fresh, then every few days or weeks or months.) I've been saving from my last birthday. Not that there's anything controllable about the 780. I can change some settings, but mostly the cam decides. I just work with what it wants to do to make what I want it to do, happen. I'm surprised how well that works.

Missed the cam at the Vid Fest [below] last weekend — used my elderly, much larger and not-at-all-pocketable Canon S5 there, but (like my cat) it was always in the way. The 780 fits in the pockets of all my pants, so it's there when I need it.

Now, with the brand new bag that papa's got, it'll be there whenever I see something worth shooting and won't get scuffed and scathed by other stuff in my pocket. Never know when those moments will arrive. It's hardly a perfect camera, despite recently being listed as one of the best Point & Shoot cameras tested by Consumer's Reports, who apparently likes it even better than I do, but if it's there, it's the best cam I'll have.

Shots on this page marked with "sd780" were shot with it or the much more expensive scuffed up one that preceded it.
 

Cathedral - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cathedral on Pacman Day   sd780

What I really want to do with my life is get much, much better at making photographs of birds and everything else and writing about art maybe sometimes, but not nearly as much as over the last thirty years. I think thirty years is enough for this obsession. I need a couple new ones to take over, and this DallasArtsRevue thingy to fade.

When I started this site's namesake in summer 1979 — that the right date?, there was only one other art publication around. That was called Aura Art News, and it was more of an attempt. A newspaper. Not that my first issues were hugely better. I remember reading an Aura Art News review about a piece the writer couldn't figure out what those strange numbers in the lower right corner of the painting were.

What they were was a date. Quickly became obvious reading it the writer was out of his element. I think I remember it was November, hence the 11 in the secret code he didn't have a decoder ring for. Could not figure it out. I thought I could do better, did for awhile, now it's getting old. As am I.

When I started, and in the early days, years, decades, there was nothing else in Dallas. No other publication dedicated to art. Darned little coverage of local artists in the newspapers or anywhere, except for cute. Now there's a sudden proliferation, and I'm willing to let them take over. I'm ready to all but give up on this that once was a big dream. That took over my life.

Excited about not having to do the damned calendar ever again.

Some people want me to leave all this crap online, and I will as long as I can afford to. But I don't want to have to write about anything, and I especially don't want to have to write about art, although I easily envision my wanting to write about some art sometimes. And if I leave this DARts pile up, that'd be a good enough place to show it off some.
 

Dallas Video Festival - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dallas Video Festival at the Angelika

It's as if I sent my mind on vacation. I've been attending the Dallas Video Festival today (Saturday November 7 2009), and it's been a hoot.

Oh, there's plenty of glitches, but the quality of the shows I saw — and if I got bored or bothered, I'd just go to one of the other screens (although twice I found myself in one of the non-festival features at the Angelika) — have usually been very good, if not outstanding.

High points have been the fascinating new art and critique form of Writing with Pictures: The Emerging Art of the Video Essay; Nana Swiczinsky's Lezzieflick animation's amazing, new (to me) motion techniques and depiction of raw lesbian passion, although there were loud and stupid sniggerers near where I sat that made it difficult to hear; Siggraph 2009 Animation Showcase; Michael Addis' Heckler about critics and criticism; and Joanna Priestley's Missed Aches hilarious and fast-paced animation about language the from the dyslexia viewpoint.

14 Americans, a documentary showing 14 artists at work was likewise fascinating, despite annoying audio dropouts often deleting important dialog. Somewhere in the middle of it, apropos of nearly nothing onscreen at the moment, although probably from a crosscurrent of concepts explored there and because my mind had set to wanderin', I realized what art I'd do for the upcoming DallasArtsREVUE member show.

It's a complex idea that keeps me from making or framing photographic prints, which are generally a waste of my time. If I had ten years experience in video, that might be a better medium, but...

I'm looking forward to seeing more innovative video and shorts tomorrow. The Texas Show is often a highlight, although today's area college animations were decidedly not, as the emcee stated, on a par with what we'd been seeing from the national juried selection. But almost everything else there, or in the next screen, amazing.

Pool Top Reflections - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton  Pool Top   2009   digital photo   sd780

I am swimming the interesting life
of the elderly Chinese curse.

Ups and downs mix so dense
I wonder which state I'm in
every time I come up for air.

I am seeing ups predominate
this so-called life, but downs
are so much more interesting.

I follow the bold black line along
the bottom, trying to keep from splitting
another nail on the staccato plastic
that floats the lap rope or bashing
elbow, knee or head against the
sandpaper blue concrete.

Compared to the complex synch of
fluttering feet, bubbling mouth,
grabbing sweet air from the catch
of arm cocked for the next grab
in my wobbling splash down the lap,
swimming straight would be easy,
but half the time I'm sucking water.

At least I can still coast
those last empty strokes,
holding breath while the
momentum of water swum-in
flows me till I grab the gutter,

breathe deep, push off,
and swim another crooked lap.

— November 5-8 2009

Rough Pockets - My Canon SD780 IS Pocket Camera - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

My SD780 IS I sent back to repair the LCD in still mode that worked fine for HD video.
just passed the free fix for warranty test, and they're returning a great little — almost
too pocketable — cam I miss using, and on Saturday I got a bag to hold it safe now.

I'm really beginning to appreciate the precipitous move I made last week to strictly restrict the Calendar coverage of DallasArtsRevue to Dallas. I've been thinking about this possibility for years. For decades.

I got caught up in covering everywhere close, thinking I had incorporate the whole ball of wax — Arlington, Denton, Fort Worth, etc., ad nauseam. Everybody seems to. Success is so rarely attempted by going smaller. Restaurants, sales, corporations, everybody wants to get bigger. But all these years and decades I've wanted to keep the coverage of this publication small, and make it smaller.

I am seeing the barest beginnings of the joys and aha! moments for finally beginning to do what I've been thinking about all these years. I got to turn down silly listings I did not wish to make with venal persons pushing their own local agendas outside of Dallas. Three in the last several days, and my oh my, did it feel good.

I'm looking so forward to letting that constriction expand (to twist a turn of phrase) throughout the site — and thwarting other non-Dallas entities over the coming years, though perhaps not decades or century.
 

Y Roof - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

the pool at the Y — shot with the SD780

Yesterday I swam a much higher percentage of Australian Crawl than I've been willing to in the two months I've been swimming. In my mother's pool behind the house they no longer live in, I floated on my back so comfortably I even fell asleep a couple times. I love floating and worried that I might not be able to when I get rid of all the weight I am and will. Anna says I'll still be able to float, but I wonder.

In the water, on my back seems right. Swimming like most people who swim laps on my front is usually awkward and I don't breathe right. It doesn't feel natural. Sometimes I suck in water, or it gets in my nose, mouth or eyes even though I wear a nose clip and think about goggles. When I was a lifeguard in high school I thought it silly to wear nose clips. Maybe I won't have to when I learn to swim right again.

In high school I tried to get on the track team high jumping, because I could jump higher than anyone, but they wouldn't take me, because I did it how they thought was backwards. Now most high-jumpers jump my way, but it was too strange at St. Mary's in Derby, Kansas in 1958. I tried the football team, too, because I could kick a ball wherever I wanted it to go. They didn't like my style there either, but I was on the team long enough to realize they relied more on outraging the other team's players via sneaky innuendo on the field than skill. Big disappointment.

Yesterday's last half lap, when I swam a good Aussie, my breathing was natural, I wasn't worried about anything. It was my last lap. Who cared? I was dead tired from really swimming. And I swam more efficiently and faster than since I started swimming again. In a straight line. More like when I did it naturally every day from when I learned to feel comfortable in water.

I'd planned upping my percentage of crawl as a leap forward in exertion. Each of those single Aussie lengths got me so out of breath, I'd toy swim a lap or two. Swim backwards — feet first face-up propelled by hand paddling or feet first face-up propelled by sweeping my legs under me. Slow but working my legs while the rest of me relaxed and caught my breath.

On my back, my kick is next to useless. I can Frog it with good thrust, but the last portion of the cycle stops me in the water because I haven't figured how to cross-synchronize frogging and inverted underwater hand paddling. But that last length crawling, my kicking was automatic, and helpful. I hadn't thought about it, though I'd previsualized breathing. Not that it helped those first five or seven lengths. I can't keep up with laps, in the end decided I didn't need the numbers. Now I just watch the clock and try to remember where the big hand was when I started.

I still swam 50 minutes. But I exercised more than I have since the first time I got my Minnow badge at Kiwanis Camp in summer after grade school. I remember barely crawling out of the pool at the end of the required full lap, lying on the wet cement unable to move and breathing hard for long time. Exhausted, but I got my Shark badge next time in the pool, and in 1962 I got a JFK Fifty-Miler badge for swimming that far over the summer.

I may finally be ready for my next Shark badge.
 

Kathy Boortz - The Little General - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kathy Boortz   The Little General   2009   found and carved wood with pigment
More of this series by Kathy Boortz are on my Amateur Birders Journal.  

My email bucket has got to 179, and those are the good ones. I've deleted countless hundreds of letters between them. I'd like to continue to ignore them for a couple of days, maybe a week. But they keep growing.

I believe what takes the most of my time is calendar listings that don't list the tiny few info bits I need and instead include everything else. I don't have the time nor inclination to wade through, so I just leave those awful things in my in box, where they pile up and up. Then I get fed up and delete them all in a frantic push to put DallasArtsRevue back on a path that celebrates Dallas artists and ignores everybody else.

I've just posted a notice to that effect on the calendar page. It felt scary to do it. Can I do that? Yes. I can. I did. I'd do it again. But once is generally enough.

Meanwhile, I'm running as if on speed. I hate speed. I like to go fast, especially in a vehicle, but I usually do not, because bad things happen. I never had any appreciation for amphetamines, even ginseng sent me over edges. The speed I'm on must be all-natural adrenaline, crossed with pissed off dripping a little of sarcasm and nerviosity.

I'm piling through all those emails. Down to 27, all while adding a bunch of listings to the calendar and feeling aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh about idiots who send listings that don't adhere to any semblance of what I keep telling everybody I want and need in a calendar listing. On my third try and their third time to completely ignore everything I'd been so very careful to explain, I delete.

I added a couple art opportunities to the art ops page, added a gallery to the art space info page that I shoulda added a month ago. Two artists who've been on the list to add to the artists with web sites page and post all those updated pages and remember all the pictures I added. And.

I feel like exceedingly low blood sugar (I'm diabetic.) but I'm doing fine. It's just a feeling. My eyes don't feel like we're going blind, which is my usual tip-off I'm low low blood sugar. I can sit typing, writing, wrangling facts for hours, and not recognize anything. Then I stand up, go in the next room, and suddenly realize I'm plunging again. No reason or rhyme. It just pushes me off a cliff and doesn't come back for the body till too late later.

People keep getting mad at me for having feelings. I'm trying not to be rude. But I am tempted. So very tempted. Maybe a shotgun... Not buckshot for me. Too messy. Damned little beads hurt and splatter red stuff. But for all those idiots out there, well just maybe. Looking forward to coming down. To sleep. To dream. To start writing about art again. (There's a thought I hadn't had in awhile...

I keep wanting yet again to link to the art ennui page so I don't have to explain it but everybody will know to let me be.) I have all these photographs piled up. Gotta do Kathy Boortz' first, though. Then all the rest. Wish I'd shot a cuckoo, that'd be perfect for today's entry, although The Little General might be close to the mark.

I just deleted or stored or boxed or pigeonholed 152 emails. I feel invincible. Lotta that going on. I swam today. I photographed birds. I thought briefly about art. I thought way too much about this show. I went stark raving berserkers for awhile. Wonder if I'll be sane when it starts or when it's over. Ha!

Calm down, J R.

Later: Oof! Nothing quite like a little insanity to clear the air. I feel so much better now, after ten hours of sleep.
 

Moth on Ceiling - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Moth on My Newly-painted but Not Entirely Smooth Front Porch Ceiling    -     sd780
 

Been spending a lot of my time on my new living room. The old one was dirty, stinky, overcrowded, dingy and dark. This one's green, too but lighter, brighter, cleaner, fresher and more spacious. Somewhere along the way, it acquired new sheet-rock, mud, paint and magnificently nicer wood floors that almost everybody wanted me to put plastic on. But I will not.

First thing I reinstalled were my stained glass windows. I've liked stained glass since I used to stare at them in churches when everybody else was praying and probably thought I was. I still love church windows, but my stained glass is nondenominational. I put those exactly where I took them out a month ago, when all this reclamation began, because they were selected carefully for their placements, and the windows around them were stained to match. Almost nothing else is coming back to the same place. I want it to feel fresh and new in there.

Then came my window translucents including Jim Bowman bowls, old bottles Alex Troup unearthed from Urban Archeology sites all over town, feathers, glass blocks from Dr. Pepper, the old D-Art and someplace I can't remember anymore, a red plastic propeller from a wood plane that I used to wind up, set on a smooth surface, and watch it take off, fly awhile, then crash somewhere in my lawn.
 

Broken Tail Lights - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Broken Tail and Warning Lenses   sd780
 

Various baubles, crystals to make rainbows and other danglies, 3-D animal toys, mostly dinosaurs formerly from the Troup Collection, a life-sized plastic chameleon, a wood, a pewter and a couple plastic dragons, a small but dense metal armadillo and a plastic glyptodont (its prehistoric ancestor), chunks of glass, some translucent red dice with white dots, turtles from my collection and that ugly feathered black crow I bought at a garage sale overlooking the Bath House.

Some new, textured bottles, a blue lamp Tre gave me after she stayed here during the transition to my new living room, that wonderful little Kathy Boortz Whitaker The Cockatoo, more dragons, and all the broken and/or discarded red and amber car lenses.

The first art object in the new room was a box of balls Alex gave me for my birthday and a round tin 'box' he left awhile ago that I filled with marbles to remind me to take special care with it, even though the text on it has become water darkened, if not entirely stained. I put those on the nice, small, wood-slat coffee table. I should mention that I hung the scathed and rusted 25-cent Sherry Owens spray can on the purple door soon as it was dry, although there's some question whether that's really art. 

Then came the matched pair of Laura Abrams Manta Rays I've been saving to sparkle that whole room with every since she gave them to me at an Art in the Hood tour, last year in exchange for an express JPEG I'd shot of her work she needed for a quick deadline. I only wanted one, but she didn't want it to get lonely.

I think Willard "The Texas Kid" Watson's hand-painted weathervane is in its right place now. It started off over on the bookcase with the wood flowers, but that was too busy, kinda top-heavy dark on all that bright light green. So the vane's now in the opposite corner, behind the room's big gas space heater. It'll need a wood plank at the bottom of the TJ Mabrey riser she'd painted gray decades ago to hold a small, early stone sculpture that's yet to find its home in that room yet, but it will.

The riser will be light green, so it will melt into the walls, with only that ugly, dark clunk of boards The Kid nailed together to hold the mast for the vane, which is now arranged pointing in all the right directions, with a beautiful shadow from the main room light and, as I saw early this morning when I was in there trying to figure out where other stuff will go, lovely soft morning shadows bouncing off the neighbor's fence through transluced windows as well.

Sofa Rainbow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sofa Rainbow   sd780
 

That finished, awaiting only stabilizing struts or flats to keep the whole tall thing stable, I nailed the wrapped stone, one of the one-thousand wire-wrapped stones Art Shirer and Sherry Owens hung from trees in a grove at Connemara I wrote about in the first feature story on DallasArtsRevue online.

The 3-legged cat I got for $3 at a porch sale in Oak Cliff during an art tour a few months ago, snuck into that new room and settled near the front door before I was willing to call it sculpture. I've bought a bottle brush for its tail, but it's still struggling without a left rear leg, Tre suggested I replace with an ornate table or chair leg that would never match its vivid paint job.

Then came the Tree of Life Alex gave me. Joining it on top of the dark brown, glass-fronted bookcase I got at the porch sale across the street are the large, polychromed, carved wood exotic flowers I've stared at over my computer for more than a decade. Plus another wood flower that doesn't quite match, but looks nicer there than anywhere else it's been. And a piece of twined vine wood that was once a part of a lattice piece by an artist that doesn't live here anymore but whose name I will remember. Joy-somebody.

Alex Troup - Round Box - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Alex Troup   Round Box   2008   J R Compton Collection
 

The red chunk of stone Alex saved from the renovation of the Old Red Courthouse downtown is back on its usual duty, keeping the front door from slamming into ... whatever art ends up there. Paintings probably — I'd brought in my best paintings even before the room was finished. Too early, it turned out. I'd even begun placing them in odd juxtapositions, but they just didn't feel right in there, yet.

And there's no chimes hung yet, and no bells, though I know I have strings of those hid away somewhere. But first, more sculpture.  

Death of a Stargazer - copyright 2009 J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

J R Compton   Death of A Stargazer   sd780

Even when I'm not writing new stories for this site, I'm constantly updating stories, members' and other pages. I just reviewed a marvelously haunting and strikingly visual movie, made the latest final alterations on my How to Photograph Art page — attempting to make the part about the Levels command in Photoshop just a little more clear.

And I've brought two of the three member pages I know I have to update to fruition the only additional changes will be members' corrections and changes. One more to go. All three have been miraging on the horizon for awhile now. I still haven't written what I've been hoping to for years now — a "How To about How to Publicize Your Work, A Simplified Guide to PR."

But the How to Photograph Art page is as close as I can get it to being fully updated. I started it, because someone asked, and I'd told them I didn't know enough about it to say much. Then I said all I knew. Then I learned more, etc. It was always a labor of love.

While I was putting all that energy into a page that does not promote Dallas artists in any way but use their images, it became immensely popular. Teachers who thought they were going to have to write their own story show it to their students, and they show and tell others.

Amazing how that works. I think it may be my most popular story ever.
 

Continental Gin Stripes - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Continental Gin Stripes - So glad I remembered that these pix don't need to feed the text.

Odd to be writing this on a page that will (I expect) be online for awhile since I rarely take anything down, all 1300 pages of it) when the Internet is Down as I type this. At least my local branch — twig — of it is. Roadrunner is moving along about as fast as the clunk of chrome by the Green Line's transit station. That is, not at all.

Strange feeling to write for something that at these instants does not exist. I'm watching a movie about one of my favorite 70s bands, the Incredible String Band, and the movie about it is as dated as dated can be. Hippy Dippy meets Newsweek echoes the Beatles and The Stones interviews of the same time and under most of the same circumstances.

I've updated some pages and carefully pieced together a story with today's bird pictures, some of which I'm quite proud of, now I cannot load them onto it, because the it of it is not there. It's nowhere man. NPR was talking today that the internet will never replace newspapers, apparently not noticing that it already has.

I'm glad I'm not writing this stuff for a ink on paper magazine, rather for pixels on light or whatever this screen is made of. Magic mostly. I keep seeing documentaries about my hero science fiction writers, many of whom insist still upon using ancient typewriting devices to put words on paper. I used to have those, then electric, then big computer driven hoo-hah I couldn't even see what I was typing with, then the Macintosh, and now still one of those.

I keep trying to get through, to get on. But it's not there to climb aboard. Maybe it'll be back tomorrow. Maybe I will, too.

Front Rail Color Test - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Front Porch Color Test   sd780

It's been mentioned on various pages, including on the top of this site's Home Page, and somewhat prominently on the Member page, but darned few Supporting Members of this site have yet acknowledged the existence of our next — perhaps our last — member show that opens at the Bath House 7-9 December 5, with another reception and Art Talk January 9, through January 30.

Those who have and/or will notice by mid-October will get special treatment, first dibs, etc. The others will get what's left. That only seems fair. If you're going to be a member of a publication, you probably should read it, and I've already begun inviting non-member artists to The Back-room Invitational in the back gallery there and then.

The show blog [link above] has begun, and will continue. I will publicly announce it to everybody I can think of on October 16, if they haven't noticed by then, and there will surely be several of those.

I always hope DARts Members read this site, but I have serious doubts about that. I've certainly dropped enough hints, here, there and over yonder, but only a very few have picked up any clues.
 

Camel Nose - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fondling this Camel's Upper Lip was the High Point of the Fair for Me   sd780

We saw Clive Owen and some precocious kid actors and of course a couple of love interests, one dying, then dead, but still very present in The Boys Are Back***/ between short lines of less-than-famous (I fit right in) movie reviewers at the Angelika last night. Interesting experience — as in the ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." Behind us, in seats marked with names we'd never heard of, were Mr. Wrinkles and the Bloated Sailor, whose innards gurgled and sporked loudly through the movie.

You'd think movie reviewers would know not to get crinkle-wrapped candy at a flick they're reviewing in public. The guy whose stomach was afire loudly flipped pages — I know he wrote at least five that I heard turned — during the film. Anna spoke of him scribbling. Must be one of those reviewers who have to tell you every turn of the story. Like you need to know much more than I usually tell in my much shorter than this thesis of a movie experience review.

J R's Movie Reviews for the last couple years — on DVDs and in theatres

I assume the big-name reviewers got their own screening some time ago.

I remember those when I published Dallas NOTES from the Underground and Hooka in the early 70s, when we got ace treatment in movie row downtown. Usually a dozen or dozen-and-a-half bigger-than-life, very recognizable reviewers squashed in comfy seats in a small viewing room — a fabulous way to see a yet-unreleased movie. All present intelligent enough not to wrinkle candy wrappers or splorch out loud during.

I assumed they were less-than reviewers in our theatre with us last night, because all their seats were on the outside aisle, but maybe that's so they could leave early before the movie was over, to escape the crowd or offer pithy one-liners to the guys with clipboards just outside the theatre. We enjoyed that sport, also.

The movie's about loss and gain as the wild and nearly rule-less single-father family with one cute kid joins briefly, then, well you gotta see the movie, the other — whose acting smolders brilliantly — from the former wife. And the father and the kids and everybody else involved's journey for a couple important weeks in their transition. Well written, solid story, often humanly hilarious with exquisite transitional moments of great filmic beauty, only obviously we-knew-exactly-what-was-gonna-happen just once near the end, that proves the title and tells the story.

Nice flick. I'd like to rent it from Netflix later on, hear all the dialog, back up for stuff I missed or was mumbled, without the added soundtracks from Mr. Wrinkle and The Splorch.

 

Sometimes Sunsets Are Better - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sometimes, Sunsets Are Better

I hope I am not becoming Harlan Ellison or Andy Rooney (both iconoclast heroes), though I've been a happy curmudgeon for more than three decades, but there's a lotta stuff out there that just pisses me off. We attended the Deep "Art" tour tonight for maybe the third or fourth time, but with certain exceptions, it keeps getting worse.

Good, intelligent galleries — I'll cite Barry Whistler here — quickly learn they do not further their intelligent goals and aesthetic visions by being in this inept and lame tour. Most of the stops on earlier iterations of it no longer exist, and there's a deep charm in that. Some few places along the idiot map, which has more need to promote advertisers than addresses and side streets, are marvelous and intriguing with amazing visions in visual art.

Others, perhaps most, though just barely so, are deluding themselves that they are galleries just because they have stuff on the wall behind glass. I may/may not write more than this about this year's tour. I certainly took enough photographs of the startlingly good, the bad, the badder and the ugly, too. So many taste-free zones in just one tour ... amazing.

Maybe I'll just stack a bunch of the photographs down the page, then sneak slowly in what's wrong with this picture notices till it becomes a story. The Universe knows many enough of mine start that way anyway. We snuck in two visits to genuine galleries also receptioning tonight.

The aforementioned Barry Whistler Gallery was resplendent with superb drawings within drawings within drawings. I photographed details and watched as a young woman knelt at the corner of one large drawing, staring in what I supposed had to be awe, though I couldn't see her eyes. For many minutes. Lots of wow moments on those walls tonight.

And another gallery where many friends gathered, later. I enjoyed art on several walls — especially Shari Hornish's lilting bird scenarios, talked with dear friends, then wandered into the main space, where I saw glossier, glitzier versions of the same over-stylized sort of paintings I'd seen on so many walls earlier today on that infamous tour.

I stared into them for a long time — dodging gallery-goers who obviously don't go to galleries for the art, since they paid it no attention whatsoever while I was there — struggling to understand the difference between expression and style. There is something attractive about Sussan Afrasiabian's colors and vivid contrast, and maybe a little bit of spirituality snuck in in the nebulous objects floating in the backgrounds — White Birds often make me think of things spiritual, but repeated that often through the gallery, any sense or sensibility in them is rendered moot.

My struggle to discern differences between these stylized figure studies and the studied stylizations I'd seen on the Deep (?) Art tour was not met with success. It must simply be talent. Ms. A does interesting things to such nebulousness and some of her stylizations are intriguing, but there's more glitz than substance.

I'd wandered from room to room seeking water and ice, but found none. At least the tour had marvelous food. I don't do alcohol, but could have used a little something to tide me over, when a server came near where I was standing and wondering about that stylized but vacuous art, and she insistently pushed the last morsel of it at several people in a bunch there, me between them and the art.

They did not want it, parrying her thrusts. She curved the morsel tray at them again, and they again refused. I walked over, reached for it, and she rudely pulled it from my reach. Everybody laughed, and like most humans, I did not appreciate the snub by a server, so I stormed out of the gallery, down the street and gone to my car in seconds. I will not go back to Haley-Henman.

There are worse things than lame tours. There is inconsideration, meanness and stupidity.
 

Splatter Bird Imprint - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton   Splattered Bird Imprint from The Amateur Birder's Journal

It's a good thing I got all my good feelings out about that Turkey Butt Art in the Metromess show [below] when I did. My opinions have shifted since the artists' opening Saturday afternoon September 12 where I escaped going to any of today's stupid Art Slops, Dallas or Fort Worth or the opening of the Green Line and the Traveling Turd [below].

You may have read me previously when I mentioned that when I'm not in the AiM show, the juror usually says something about every piece in the show, and when I am juried in, they don't.

Well, this time I got a photograph in the show, and the juror showed an image of and talked briefly about every piece in the show — except mine. Some dufus at TCU put one of my pieces that was not selected for the show in where my piece that was juried into the show should have been on the CD of "winners" the juror used in his lecture.

When the not-selected piece [atop today's entry] of a bird who'd left its winged imprint on a mirrored door after it splattered there (I know the feeling) was projected onto the screen in the auditorium the juror talked instead about another piece that this reminded him of, all the while this piece continued to shine on the screen, though he never mentioned who made it.

Zigzag Rain Home - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Zigzag Rain Home   sd780

That declined image was mostly black & white, so it didn't suffer like everyone else's colors did on the dreadful digital projector, but it would have been nice if he'd at least stated my name during that idiotic two minutes and forty-seven seconds.

I have nearly 4 gigs of HD Video with 23 minutes and 15 seconds of his talk hoping to capture my nonexistent fifteen seconds of fame, although I had to move the camera nearly every time the cute little girl in pink in the row in front of us got bored and started dancing around or complaining again. And I stopped it briefly when the camera got too hot. If anybody in the show wants a copy of their minutes of fame, we can negotiate. I don't want money; I just don't want to spend time or materials for somebody else's glory.

Then when the picture he discussed while he was showing my wrong image came up later in the stack, he talked about it again.

But when I asked at the reception, he told me he wished that my photograph had been bigger (high praise he'd explained in his lecture), and that he liked my egrets and bull, because they were so dissimilar, and that the birds could have flown off any time, but the bull was stuck there. He also told me he wished everybody could hear his discussion of my photo. I agreed.

It's not the juror's fault. He was given the stupid CD. A human from the Templeton (a street in Fort Worth, not the city in Texas) Art Association that sponsors the show admitted that nobody bothered to check the CD to see if it had the right images. So it's their fault, and I'm still so pissed I couldn't spit.
 

OptoMachine - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

OptoMachine   sd780

My eye doctor says I have a little back-of-the-eye damage from high blood sugar in my left eye. I thought that odd, because my right eye is by far dominant. It's the one I look through cameras with, the one I usually use to see. I have to think about it to use the left one.

I told him that was great, since I rarely use it already, but I've been attending the Y three or four times a week, swimming laps, and I've lost eleven pounds and am needing a lot less insulin than before, and my blood sugars at long last seem to be smoothing out, although there was that little red-faced incident early last month when I misplaced some time I haven't caught up with yet.

I don't want to lose use of either eye, but if one of them has to go, the left would be my choice, too. I've known several one-eyed artists, and except for that little matter of apparent depth, it's not the end of the world. However, after having diabetes for about a decade now, I finally seem to be doing something about it.

The first step is denial, as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, and Twelve Steppers everywhere know too well, and it can take awhile to get past that and on toward recovery, if the road doesn't curve out of control first.

All the steps, in order, although Kübler-Ross says they don't all always happen and usually not in any order, are:

Denial,
Anger,
Bargaining,
Depression, and
Acceptance.

The only person I've ever seen do them all in order was Homer Simpson, although I've been round and about and through them. Except that elusive last one. My friends, my doctors, my family, my astrologers and everybody else have told me to deal with it. Maybe I finally am/will.

It's about time.
 

Empty Walls in the Moudy Gallery at TCU - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Empty Walls in the J.M. Moudy Gallery at TCU where AiM Now Hangs   sd780

I thought I'd just sent off an email interview with the TCU "arts & entertainment reporter for the TCU Daily Skiff," who is writing a story about the Art in the Metroplex show I and a bunch of other North Central Texas area artists got juried into recently.

Since most of what I wrote in that email probably will not be published or possibly (it usually happens) misquoted or misspelled (the writer had already misspelled both the title of my piece and the name of the show, though I have corrected it here), I have expanded upon her interview here.

I was going to tell you that, because I'm used to updating stories every time I see them, these words reflect my more current thinking and writing than that earlier email reply. Then I noticed I hadn't sent that email yet, so many of the remarks originally written for this ThEdBlog are now in that email interview, after all.

How did David Pagel select your photograph to be in the exhibition?

You'd have to ask him. Like all the other artists, I submitted digital images online, hoped, then waited. [There's a story about the digital difficulties of entering this show in ThEdblog#6.]

The Moudy Stone - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Mysterious Moudy Stone in
Front of the J.M.Moudy Building
on the campus of TexasChrstianU

What excites you most about having your work displayed in the Art in the Metroplex Exhibition?

It's a nice, little, North Central Texas area exhibition that shows what one juror who's usually from someplace else — so they're comparatively objective — considers the best of the pieces submitted.

That selection usually gets close to including some of the better artists in the area — at least those of us who still feel like entering competitive exhibitions, which may or may not include artists with gallery affiliations or who actually make a living with their art.

It also includes some wildcard artists, whose work I've never seen before, and those are often fascinating.

Because it's a small show — limited by the space available in that little gallery, it's easy to digest and make comparisons. It's also possible, when the jurors aren't completely full of themselves, they will devote time to each artists' work.

When they are full of themselves, however, all we get is promo about their latest project somewhere else, or we get to watch their slide collection. We never know till we get there, which circumstance will obtain. Like most everything else in life, it's a crapshoot, only sometimes an interesting one.

I probably should note that excitement may not be the best term for what I feel about being in the show this time. It's nice being recognized, and I love being counted among this strata of artists, but I don't enter very many competitive exhibitions. I like this one, because it's comfortable. I know a lot of the people. I like the place, and it feels like a mini-homecoming each time I return. Besides, we know of a great, inexpensive but good Asian restaurant in the neighborhood.

And when I get bored with any aspect of the Show & Tell that precedes and/or includes the awards portion of the program, I delight in wandering around the studios and classrooms and halls of the TCU Art Department catching glimpses of future Metroplex art stars and ideas.

Is this your first time to have your work displayed in the Art in the Metroplex Exhibition?

Nope. The eighth. I've got in this very competitive show in 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2003, 1986, 1985 and 1983. I have no idea how many times I've entered, but it seems like I forgot about it for at least a decade or so.

How does the Art in the Metroplex Exhibition compare with other local Art Exhibitions?

It's not local. It's regional. But it's close-in regional. It's very nice that AiM is an intimate little show, where the artists have time to bump into and talk with each other. Those conversations can be really amazing.

When the juror is kindly, just a few words from them about what they see and appreciate in our specific work is remarkably educational and ego-boosting, and when they're not, the whole experience may seem like a chore.

 

Cops On the Street - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cops and Bobbers   sd780

Like probably most of us, I like thinking of me as sane and smart and with it. Whatever it might be. Especially sane. But I'm not any more than the worst among us at that. LIke I'm a terrible bureaucrat, I'm awful at being sane. Dinged out crazy trying.

Couple days ago I kicked a big guy's gold Mercedes Benz was parked in my driveway, blocking my way out. I didn't have shoes on yet. Barely had my khaki shorts. Long belt hanging loose. Me, too, likely. The nicest neighbors I've got, next door, having a wake or reception after an uncle died, cop told me later — everybody clean dressed didn't seem like my neighborhood at all. Young guy in a Marine uniform. White dress shirts. Worried a soldier'd got murdered in another war somewhere. Clean neat people eating off paper plates in their mown short green yard.

I'd asked the big guy in the Benz to move his car out of my driveway, and he just sat there, inside the reflecting windshield glittering gold car. I couldn't see him and a woman in there, just reflections bending off the glass. Nothing happened. No reaction. Time losing me again.

And I got so mad I kicked his car with my bare foot. Barely remember that. The flat bottom of my foot on his smooth fender. No damage to my foot. By then the mountain of a man standing over me, looking down at this disheveled idiot old guy kicking cars with his bare feet, inspecting his fender for details of the damage. Him looking angry, asked if I'd like him to hit me "up side the head."

I thought that'd probably kill me. My head's fragile lately since I lost time. Probably before that some, too. I didn't want to die right there in my damned driveway.

I walked fast loose careful into my house secure locked the door. Didn't want nobody following me close till I got the door shut tight. In the middle of calling 9-1-1 again, when I heard loud banging on my just-locked door. Booming banging, shake me inside, shake the whole front a my house. Porch rattling. Windows, walls of my old frame.

Carefully enunciating the numbers I'd scribbled on the back an envelope license plate number Miss Nine One One told me to get when I said there was a gold Mercedes Benz in my driveway wouldn't leave. Number by number like talking to kindergarten kids. I was so careful scared.

The front door booming still. Echoing. Then somewhere in the mix me spelling numbers a woman's shrill pleading voice bleating some sort of apology I was too busy to parse while following phone instructions. My numbers out, hung up, lay down and waited. Try to feel calm. Willing my blood pressure down.

Minutes later. Minutes. Cops my neighborhood usually take hours, if not days. Later. Two cop cars I could see, four maybe more, cops cross the street, in my neighbors' yard. Talking with people out by the sidewalk. Couldn't see who.

I approached the voices. Cop backed me off at my driveway. Thought they ought to be talking to me first; I called them. Stopped, stared. Shoes neatly tied now, belt tight. Retreated back, sat on the blue couch on my front porch. Nice weather. Short breeze. No stifling heat. Waited.

When the cop signaled, walked toward me, I walked toward him. He said there was no damage. Like I was worried about the damned gold Cadillac car not my brain splattering in. By then the glitter wagon'd moved front of the neighbor's drive, blocking it. Mine clear. Cars clogged all up and down the street.

I stayed inside. Calming slow. Breathing again. Shaking stopped. I didn't want to ever go outside again. Took me hours to go photograph some birds. Try to forget.
 

Accidental Self-portait Along Good Lattimer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton   Inadvertent Self-portrait   sd780

Et at the Flying Fish, dropped off pieces for the AiM show, saw friends there, talked briefly with AiM organizer Karen Weinman and TCU's new curator who lives in Dallas and drives there to work, what, every day? then off to The Modern,

susan, curator, artist - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Table Soft for Art - artist Susan Lecky, curator Christina Rees, artist   sd780

which was full of really old (like, modern, not contemporary) videos where we talked with an old friend of Susan's who'd been in Europe and Tangiers (scenes from there in the Bourne movie I watched last night scattershot my mind when she said that) and had seen the Biennale, and it was full of video, too, she said, so get used to it. but we dint wanna, everything being retread.

Footless Halls of Air - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Footless Halls of Air   sd780

fun, really fun talking it down, but seeing it, too. Lotta art there, great textures seemed the stars. i guess arty vids gotta have goofy music to really class. nicer dancing too. Remembering Steve Martin in LA Story, but what I really liked was the building, lots of wings of which upstairs look like all glass hallways with fuzzy optical floors when i'd come up on them to walk down, they'd be reflections, so i took their pictures. like free fall into the shallow water.

Traveler - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Chrome Turd that doesn't go anywhere
by a mid-level artist from out of town

Before that all, i went down and got new pix of Traveling Man, all shiny, and decided it was not an entrance to deep elm, at all, but the last exit outta downtown. fairyland fantasy in dollars, taxes. too cute for comfort. I was documenting its progress, and I knew the project was stupid, and the bozo artist thereof is from out of town even though his silly project is stuck here, but after awhile I just couldn't stand seeing it that often anymore, and I knew all along that what James Michael said about it was right, so I'm not documenting his progress any more, it's just too damned stupid.

Moudy Gallery at TCU - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Moudy Gallery at TCU Where AiM Show Always Is   sd780

I wanted Etouffée, but the Flying Fish had ceviche which I splashed with a side of slaw cooling it down. But the burn burnt itself out after awhile, still tasting the embers.

Moudy v. Moudy - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Moudy Building from the Moudy Gallery   sd780

Since then I been watching movies. Hitchcock's stupid Foreign Correspondent* and fairly intelligent but beautiful The Man Who Knew Too Much***/ and now Panic***/, about Wm Macy as a muder-for-hire who wants to quit. Humanly funny but deadly serious, sharp. He's on a moral mission to save his family.

Always liked the Moudy's outside. Not the face down the hill that looks like an old public school building but the innie front all squared of glass, and the gallery inside beautiful of empty white space and windows out onto windows in and out. Where AiM will be, opening twice, once for FWADA another for the artists, if this year's critic doesn't just talk about himself.

tm going away - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TM Leaving Amid Visual Clutter   sd780

Still not sure about my so very empty living room. I kinda like it that way, and my dining room stacked to the ceiling with my living room. Nice in there working this morning. Spooky cool and echo-y. Slowly I'm taking down all the art still on the walls and in the windows and put em in boxes and stack the boxes in the dining room till the new sheetrock's up, then paint.

I really really like the green, but it's been green for decades, so maybe something new color. Brighter. Warmer. Happier.
 

St. Francis with Gulls - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Nope, it's not St. Francis with Gulls on the Beach at South Padre Island.
It's El Cristo de los Pescqdores — Christ of the Fishermen. No artist's name mentioned.

 

I either lost my mind or a recent chunk of memory sometime before I came to, in a hospital emergency room [Anna's FLip video of me explaining my experience there] with Anna and my treasured nephew (and Registered Nurse who works in a Houson ICU) Chris Dahlquist. I was, of course, talking. Bantering even, but I do not know what preceded that animated conversation. I got several hours missing.

I remember leaving San Antonio and stopping for a burger close to where my parents live, then stopping again for gas somewhere south of there on the inland way to Padre. Anna promises a list of the whole chronology, but I haven't seen it yet.

I don't remember seeing the island and apparently did not take photographs of it, which seems unlikely, because oceans and large bays excite my visual cortex. Perhaps I had already been in a mental coma then, though I did not look lost. Chris and Anna were concerned about me there in the emergency annex, though I did not feel worried, which is odd, since that's something I'm really good at. Maybe the med staff gave me something.

Anna and Chris told me about me becoming lost in time and space — not that unusual, really — then getting ambulanced 35 miles to Valley Baptist Hospital. That concerned me. Nothing against Baptists, but it's not a religion I identify with. Raised Catholic, stubborn Pagan since.

Eventually, I learned that institution is a contract hospital with the VA system (I'm a vet, and getting evacuated to a VA-associate might be incredibly good financial news. Last time I was emergencied into a VA hospital — with pneumonia — for 23 hours, I didn't even get a bill.)

I would have loved the ambulance ride, and if I'd been in my right mind (often a question) I would have taken photos, although they would probably have kept me and my tiny (it hides behind a credit card) pocket camera from it.

Nobody ever proselytized me while I was at Valley Baptist. There was zero mention of Jesus or God or any of those Guys, although I did later find a large-print New Testament in the room I was transferred to after my stay in the CCU (Coronary Care Unit), when I finally became aware that I was bored out of my mind and desperately needed something to read. I was a little woozy there but a fairly good patient.

I was treated well, despite some strange quirks, and I actively liked everybody I interfaced with but one doctor who kept talking about how bad Obama's Health Care plan was for "working people," meaning himself. (The lowest-paid doctor I ever knew, was on medical leave, and only making $200,000 a year, and I don't count those as "working people.")

I told him I loved my government-sponsored socialized medicine from the VA, and I didn't understand why all Americans couldn't have it.
 

Window Reflection on the Floor in the Hall - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Window Reflection on the Floor in the Hall on My Way Out of There
I've intensified the colors a little, but it's not a composite photo.   sd780
 

By the time I got rolled upstairs to a private room, I was ready to leave. If I'd had anything to wear but the goofy gown that I'd customized to hide my more egregious parts and the "booties" to interface with that cold, cold floor, I would have attempted an escape, because I believed then they were actively trying to kill me.

Apparently, what put me there was an "Acute Hypertension Crisis." Meaning my blood pressure had skyrocketed to 200 over 90 and taken my mind and very recent memories with it (A dear friend who had a similar forgetting after a bonk on the head, said he got it all back and clear as yesterday — three years later).

It is telling that I'd made no photographs up to or including the episode, during which I exhibited no understanding but much curiosity about where I was and why I was there — South Padre Island to engage in a family reunion, although I'm told I could identify my fellow reyooners by name.

I missed the first two days of the gathering, and when I got back everybody treated me like a retarded person. There had been a real retarded guy in the bed next to me in the CCU. He spent a lot of time loudly moaning and groaning. I took to groaning along with him, with a slight attempt to harmonize, hoping that might quiet him, and it seemed to work. He didn't mind, and the nurses found it amusing.

At the other end of that long room of beds and machines was a much older guy (I'm 64) who moaned and groaned and cried out. Not, apparently, in pain. More in senility, but I understood the frustration. I only tried once to harmonize with him.

I was already bored, but I was tied into bed by tubes and electronic gizmos. Two auto-inflating tubes alternated expanding and deflating my legs, keeping me awake for hours as they hissed and contracted my shins. Something else checked my blood pressure every couple of minutes, uncomfortably stiffing my arm at each turn.
 

Me Discussing My Own Case of Chronosynclastic Infidelium

Me discussing my own "chronosynclastic infidelium,"
Kurt Vonnegut's term for becoming unstuck in time,
in Anna's astute FLip video from the emergency room.

Alas, the video was lost in a hard drive crash.
 

If I ever got any sleep, that's when someone'd inject, test or ask me insipid questions. Where was I? What was I doing there? Hmm.

Sleep is unlikely in ICUs, but I got a lot of it in the room upstairs. In both places, staff kept suggesting I watch TV, but the circus going on in and around me was more interesting. TV bores me, although I love Jane & The Dragon and Defying Gravity. I tried to get some magazines or a book from the hospital's volunteer library, but though promised, they never arrived.

Another ongoing battle was to get as much insulin as my VA doctors have prescribed for years — that actually works to level my sugar. The Valley Baptists would shoot me up with less than half that, test it a few hours later and be dismayed that my blood sugars had not reduced. I'd explain, they'd shoot me up with too little again, test me and be dismayed again. If there is a real hell, it is probably something like that.

What got me there was high blood pressure with a side of diabetes, so of course, when they finally fed me, they gave me full-bore caffeinated coffee and straight sugar desserts — no pink or blue fake sugar or Stevia in sight. I was depending upon their intelligence but sadly mistaken. Gotta love horse pistol logic.

Then they scheduled the very important ultra-sound of my kidneys that requires an empty stomach just after dinner, and never did find a time to work it into my schedule, although I'm pretty sure my kidneys still work.

Gradually, the horse-pistoleros figured out how to give me a low-sodium diet and learned to indicate I was allergic to caffeine, an immaginative way to circumvent the facts while getting me what I needed from food services.

Eventually, Anna and my beloved Aunt Margie arrived to drive me back to Padre for some serious birding and what was left of my family reunion, including the notorious family visit to an expensive seafood restaurant, with fabulous photographs of all of them frowning into menus.


White On Black - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton   White & White on Black   digital photograph   sd780
I so rarely get to promote my own Member Page, but this is new stuff.

I've been exchanging emails with DARts Member, friend and digital competition enterer Jeanne Sturdevant about an online exhibition I hope to create here this autumn. Not sure what it will be called, but we agreed it should have the word "International" in the title, because that looks good on a resume. It'll probably have this site's name in it, too.

The DallasArtsRevue.com International Online Exhibition & Whatever

Of course, just being on the internet insures that universality, anyway. Jeanne will help jur the show, which will be open to artists anywhere in the known universe, although maybe there should be a Dallas, a Texas, an Estados Unidos and other categories.

We'll have three jurors. Jeanne, me, and someone I've only just now asked. I like odd-numbered juries. 12 always seemed like asking for trouble. Small is better. LIke mobs, committees are dangerous.

Jeanne suggested two jurors liking something puts it in. I was on a jury once that refused to allow each of us to choose one artist whom none of the other jurors liked, so I want this jury to have the option of each of us having one or two free picks we feel strongly about that nobody else likes.

Jeanne suggested that it might be awkward to decline work by DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members, but I figure we're mostly adults and by now should be capable of accepting yet another fate. Besides, if they want to put something up on this site, they have their member pages.

Early in this site's beginnings, I did an online Self-Portrait X. I was careful not to promote it anywhere but on these pages, and darned few of those. What I learned from that experiment is that the next one should be more broadly and carefully promoted. When I did that one there were darned few websites about art in Dallas, and no blogs. Now there's lots.

So far, we have no theme. It'll be open to all media and all artists. No size limits of the original art, though there will be a maximum height and width of published results. Part of the reason to have this thing is to get people used to dealing with digital entry, which is at long last taking over the world. Another would be to get to show some really interesting work that we might not otherwise discover in the gallery scene.

I hope to come up with titles for non-cash (!) awards. Most popular, Most Likely to Succeed, Least Likely to Ted Bundy, Most Surprising, Strangest Use of Medium, etc., and I'm toying with the notion of showing all the entries, perhaps in a time-limited fashion.

It's really all up in the air, and I am very open to suggestions from readers. The latest email is always on the Contact Us page. Once the show is up, it will stay up.

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