September 13, 2004

Journey from the Land of No

I first became aware of the Ramones when I was in high school and I started listening to KROQ where "I Wanna Be Sedated" was a fixture of their Flashback Weekends, though I'd certainly seen plenty of cute boys wearing their t-shirts by then. Joey became enough of a legend to me that I felt sad when he died a few years ago, but it took a viewing of End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones with Carol on Thursday night to really fill in the gaps in the band's history for me. I loved all of the archival concert footage and interviews, not to mention the excuse to rock out in my seat to tons of great tunes. The whole film can't help but be tinged with sadness, however, when you know that Joey and DeeDee are already gone. Even seeing Joe Strummer giving color commentary in an interview was a little heartwrenching. The original punks are dying off.

Early Friday evening I ran over to Oakland to look at the Island Getaway show at Mama Buzz Cafe, featuring collaborative photos by Liz Harris and Nicole Neditch. Each photograph is a carefully staged death scene, and I was interested to note that I automatically assumed all of the victims were women, even when I was merely looking at the soles of someone's feet. Splashes of day-glo pinks and greens appear where you would expect to see blood and gore, and the effect is surprisingly humorous, though my favorite piece was simply a poignant close-up of someone's hand lying in a field of flowers, loosely clutching a fistful of fake jewels. Spray paint and bits of ephemera that I recognized from the photos were scattered artfully around the gallery, nicely blurring the line between exhibition and exhibition space.

After I was done at Mama Buzz I walked around the corner to Ego Park Gallery for the Poster Palz: Art of Seripop and Little F of P reception. I went a little weak in the knees as soon as I walked in, as the walls were literally plastered with eye-popping screenprints by Seripop (short for Serigraphie Populaire) and The Little Friends of Printmaking. Many of the posters were for indie bands and featured the cluttered, grimy aesthetic the kids do so love these days. Absolutely gorgeous stuff, all of it.

When I got home from browsing the art I still had time for a DVD: Me You Them, a beautiful film about a woman in rural Brazil who finds a way to keep three different husbands under the same roof all at the same time. This is neither a blatant advertisement for polyamory nor is it farce, it is merely the story of the travels of one woman's heart. It doesn't hurt that the scenery is breathtaking, and that the main character of Darlene is played winningly by the mesmerizing Regina Casť.

Saturday afternoon I stopped by Southern Exposure to peruse their 30th-anniversary exhibition, The Way We Work. A celebration of collaborative art-making, the show brings together seven different collectives into one space, and I confess I had some trouble at first sorting out who was doing what where and why. The Neighborhood Public Radio DJs were in the gallery spinning records at full volume while Stretcher.org's green-screen set sat deserted nearby. Boxes and boxes of Red76's voter-information placemats were stacked against one wall, and visitors were encouraged to take a handful for distribution. Jon Rubin and Stephen Wright's player piano sat silently on the other side of the room, awaiting a phone call to Southern Exposure's office that it could translate into music via some digital magic. I poked around the mobile archive of art-related materials United Net-Works had installed upstairs but was too intimidated by the sheer volume to dig in too deeply.

After all of that art I needed some shopping, and I headed over to the Haight to hit the sample sale a few local boutiques were holding at Milk under the moniker of "A Love Bazaar." Unfortunately the event had been posted on dailycandy.com that morning, and the line of Marina chicks in their wraparound sunglasses and pleated minis stretched five deep for an entire block. I quickly decided to cut my losses and went to Villains instead, where I found a nubby Geek Boutique top on sale that temporarily satisfied my itch for new clothes.

By Sunday morning I was grateful for Rehab's monthly brunch at Julie's Supper Club. A kind doctor took my pulse at the door and instantly prescribed mimosas and sausage. Carrie chose the Melanie (French toast) while I went for the Robert Downey, Jr. (bacon 'n' eggs), and we happily chattered away while a DJ kept the disco tunes coming. I reluctantly passed on the test tube shots that the orderlies wheeled around on a crash cart; I did have to drive home eventually, after all.

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End of the Century
Mama Buzz Cafe
Serigraphie Populaire/Little Friends of Printmaking Art Tour
Seripop
Ego Park
Me You Them
The Way We Work
Milk
Rehab
Julie's Supper Club

Posted by nightfall at September 13, 2004 09:56 PM