August 02, 2004

How Soccer Explains the World

Sometimes I like to pretend my weekend starts on Wednesday night already when Aimee and I have our Date Night. This week Carrie and Jessica joined us for a viewing of Dodgeball at the Parkway, and all I need to say is that movie is good cheap fun. I laughed a lot even though Vince Vaughn is the lead and I still harbor resentment against him for Clay Pigeons.

Thursday afternoon I took a break from work to go see Larry Schwarm's show On Fire at Robert Koch, which features his large color photographs of fire-swept plains. I liked the pictures where a trickle of fire marks a clear line between the blackened earth behind it and the doomed vegetation in front of it. When I was growing up near Anaheim Hills the yearly wildfires we had there were things to be feared, and yet I was also fascinated with fire's natural destructive power. I still am. So no wonder I was mesmerized by Schwarm's photo of a burning tree throwing off a dizzying shower of sparks against a dark night sky.

Later that evening John Kerry was busy making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention during primetime, which might explain why merely a dozen people turned up at the Telegraph Cody's to hear Jerry Stahl read from his new book I, Fatty. Even with a gathering that small we still had all of the requisite attendees for a Berkeley reading: the loony, the rabid fan, the curiosity seeker. Stahl nevertheless handled the situation like a pro, reading a few excerpts from his novel (augmented by his own hilarious commentary) and then fielding questions about his tattoos from the audience. I, Fatty is Stahl's take on the life of drug-addicted silent film star Fatty Arbuckle, natural subject matter for an author famous for his memoir of heroin addiction, Permanent Midnight.

I was back at Cody's Friday evening, this time to hear Adrian Tomine discuss his work with McSweeney's managing editor Eli Horowitz, and this time the room was packed. Tomine has just published Scrapbook, a compendium of old strips, illustration work, sketchbook pages, album covers, and other miscellany. I am a longtime fan of Tomine's comic book Optic Nerve because even when the issues have a tendency to come out once every two years his stories never fail to hit me in the chest and his art is gorgeous in its meticulousness. Pick up Scrapbook the next time you're feeling emo.

Saturday morning I scooped up Carrie and together we ventured into Canvas to check out this month's Feria Urbana. The plan was to help each other resist purchasing heaps of goodies from the fabulous local artisans. However, I still managed to walk out with a pair of freshwater pearl earrings from Peggy Li Creations, and Carrie found a stunning necklace that consisted of a veritable constellation of reddish-orange stones. But hey, just think of all the stuff we didn't buy.

Finally, sadly, I want to say goodbye to Fatty, a kitty I was very fond of who passed away suddenly this morning. She was a good cat.


Robert Koch Gallery
Larry Schwarm
Cody's Books
Jerry Stahl
Adrian Tomine
Feria Urbana
The Canvas Gallery
Fatty Cat

Posted by nightfall at August 2, 2004 10:07 PM