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Archive for August, 2009 Line

I can’t believe it. I’m loathe to believe it. I don’t want to believe it. But I have to believe it. Come Friday, it’s time to pack my bags and journey back east to finish my formal schooling. Yes, that’s right. I’ve only got 9 more months to finish my degree and to find myself a suitable husband.

Just kidding!!!

After gathering answers for countless Adventurer Profiles this summer, Cori and Aviva insisted I write my own. I’ve been thinking about my answers real hard too. Because I take these things very, very seriously.

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What skill do you want to learn?
How to read the constellations.

Food and drink you donʼt want to live without?
Ice cream of any kind and Prosecco. Without these two things, the world would be so sad. 

What’s the scariest thing you can think of?
Leading an unfulfilled life.

What is your favourite party supply?
Costumes, costumes, costumes!

Your favorite book of the moment?
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. The woman can WRITE!

Describe your dream party place.
A secret space behind some kind of unassuming facade like a defaced, windowless warehouse, perhaps with broken, sealed-off windows and up a flight of dingy, disgusting stairs. Once around a corner, you’d come upon a garden/living space that could only be described as breathtaking because it’s so unexpected. Candles everywhere, vast amounts of natural light, high ceilings, and self-washing dinnerware.

What is the evil version of you like?
A self-absorbed, compassionless mega-bitch who’s glued to a Blackberry and wears very thin stilettoes. I also never eat carbs.

What gives you confidence?
The song “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen! Seriously. Whenever I listen to that I feel like Obama’s campaign slogan has shrunk down just for me: “Yes, I CAN!” 

Name four essential elements of a good party.
Really good ambient lighting, a playlist that extols you to dance, a critical mass of people ready and willing to generate a serious amounts of good energy, and something completely unexpected…like people in robot costumes.

What do you appreciate most about a party host?
Someone with a sense of humor who also knows what it takes to throw a good party.

Favorite adventure supply?
A tub of Wet’n'Wild mega sparkles.

Describe the best party you ever attended.
Of late? Hands down Bastille Day at the Corson Building.

Hotel room or campsite?
After living dirty collegeland, a hotel room. A NICE one.

Do you have a style icon?
Can Can dancer from The Moulin Rouge meets California flower child.

Where is your next adventure destination?
PVD, yo! Rhode Island, represent! Because college is ALWAYS an adventure. 

If you could teach a class about anything in the world ever, what would you teach?
How to make lederhosen out of old curtains. Like Maria Von Trapp!

Your motto?
Explore incessantly.

What is your spirit animal?
I’ve been thinking really, really hard about this one all summer. My spirit animal is the Scat. That’s a squirrel-cat. Crafty, capricious, and somewhat frenetic. But in a fun way.

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If you urgently need to celebrate someone’s birth but don’t have time to bake a proper cake, or you simply believe ice cream to be a far superior alternative (like me), you might consider this innovative Adventure School/Ben and Jerry’s hybrid birthday solution: 

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Just another example of The Adventure School motto, Semper Ad Extremum (Take it to the Limit Every Time) manifested through bike innovation. It ain’t The Adventure Bike, but it’s pretty damn cool. 

This example of highly awesome bike technology brought to you not by The Adventure School, but by someone cool in Sacramento.

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Whenever finger lickin’ good ribs are involved, I find that it’s really easy to forget which part of the country you’re in.

Inspired after observing Cori and Aviva all summer, the czarinas of party planning, I decided to throw one myself to put everything I’ve learned from these two into practice. The evening was a success; it had all the makings of a classic summer barbecue and then some: ribs, watermelon, ice cream, booze, ambient lighting, and magic.

The food tasted delectable, but it was really the guests that made the night a great success. If I’ve learned anything thus far, it’s this:

Having friends of all ages makes life way more fun.

Yes, some of my peers do consider it strange that I have friends who were alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis or there to witness the rise and fall of Milli Vanilli, but if you stay strictly within your generational bracket, you’re totally missing out. I’m telling you, inter-generational is the way to go.  

Prosecco, magic shows, teddy bear sunflowers, and Molly Moon’s ice cream. These are also other indisputable ways to go. All resulting from having friends of all ages, of course. 

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*photos courtesy of Michael Kreis and his handy iPhone

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You may not know it, but strange and wonderful things are afoot in south Seattle. One such thing is Spitehouse, the intriguing new exhibition at the Lawrimore Project curated by Yoko Ott & Jessica Powers. The Lawrimore Project being a contemporary art gallery located just across the street from the Adventure School offices, all cozied up next to the US immigrations building. If you work in the area and need a breath of fresh air, you should mosey over on your lunch break and look inside. Oh, and don’t be intimidated by the big wall blocking the entrance. It’s supposed to be there; just walk around. 

Now, to pique your interest, here are a few words from Yoko and Jessica on Spitehouse

Adventure School:
The phenomena of action taken out of spite is a fascinating and totally prevalent phenomenon, but it isn’t something one would necessarily think of spotlighting. What gave you the idea for the theme of this exhibition?

Jessica:
Yoko Ott introduced me to spite houses when we sat down to plan an exhibition together for Lawrimore Project. Spite houses are typically 19th century buildings that were constructed or modified because the builder felt wronged by someone who did not want it there. The stories of the disputes that lead to said houses are fascinating.

The most compelling spite house story is that of the Richardson Spite House. Story here:
http://www.lawrimoreproject.com/lp/Exhibitions/Entries/2009/7/30_SPITE_HOUSE.html

Yoko:
I became intrigued by spite houses initially because of a desire to create and/or live in one. Reading the stories behind these obstructionist architectural feats fascinated me and I began dwelling on the complexity of it all. As thoughts unfolded in my head, I recalled the time I saw Aaron Young’s Miami Gold Fence in Bortolami Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach. I thought Young’s piece was brilliant. That became the catalyst for thinking how a theme inspired by spite houses could be framed up conceptually for a group exhibition. As Jessica and I became more familiar with the stories of the builders of spite houses and fences, as well as the discourse happening among behavioral scientists who study spiteful behavior in humans, the “invisible territories of spite” within the art world began revealing themselves to us, as did the exhibition.

Adventure School:
Any personal experience with this kind of thing?

Jessica:
“Spite House” is a personal experience of this kind of thing.

Group exhibitions are, by their very nature, land grabs and property disputes. When two art objects hang side by side there is an unspoken territory of spite between them. Spite also exists between the artist, the artwork and the audience, especially when an action of obstruction is implied—whether physical or conceptual—and often with self-defeating results.

Adventure School:
Do you think people who experience the space end up feeling spited or spiteful?

Yoko:
Bert Rodriguez’s piece “A Wall I Built With My Father” was intentionally placed in the gallery’s entrance to help set the tone of the exhibition. Viewers are forced to confront, then circumvent the wall which immediately helps incite thoughts about boundaries and obstructions.

Some visitors thus far have felt a bit shorted, or perhaps even spited after their first lap around the space because they “missed” some of the works. Two of the largest pieces in the exhibition have gone almost routinely unnoticed because people have forgotten what the architecture looked like previously. Matt Browning painted the formerly hot pink corner of the exterior and the gallery’s office window black for the show, and SuttonBeresCuller drastically altered the white cube exhibition area. Others have expressed feeling a “heaviness” when viewing the show, sensing boundaries everywhere.

This said, the end goal was not to simply incite spite in viewers. If that were the case it would have been a different show altogether, and possibly resulted in jail time for us. We did mean to provoke the audience–but to the extent of them becoming spiteful, not really.

Adventure School:
Any other interesting things we should know about Spitehouse?

Jessica:
My favorite recurring motif in the exhibition is the ‘buff’. Covering something that previously existed with a flat color field is at once a ‘fuck you’ and an invitation for greater possibility — a grassy backyard becomes a stark monochrome landscape, a concrete wall becomes a front door to an impossible dwelling, and a black corner silences attention requests and dramatically decreases gallery visibility.

Yoko:
The suspiciously serendipitous fire. [The fire was officially classified an "accidental transient fire."  Apparently, a homeless person broke into the sculpture and accidentally set fire to it. One theory is a cigarette ember ignited things.] When Scott and I were running to the gallery to meet the firemen, in addition to the panic and nausea I felt, I kept asking myself, “What artist took this too fucking far?!” We know it was an accidental fire, and not set by an artist, but that experience and the timing of it demanded a lot of me. I was rapidly processing many feelings and one of them was my own commitment to the very exhibition and concept itself. If we were really going to make such a strong statement, where would I draw the line as a curator, and where would I surrender to the fact that I’ve been spited by an artist? The damage from the fire was so beautiful. It connected to a number of the other artworks in the exhibition, and I started seeing the “land-grab” between works in an interesting way. The way the burnt bushes framed through a charred window frame spoke to Dadson’s work; the slumped glass from another melted window within the hollowed shell-of-a-sculputre referencing Hansen’s coffin; the overall blackness becoming the companion bookend to Browning’s painted corner. It all commanded my attention. The fire was the element that dramatically underscored the exhibition concept and left me really considering the ideas we put forth. Similarly, when we discovered that Matt painted the gallery, I had a tinge of irritation at first, which has to be assigned to the protectiveness I felt for Scott’s gallery. I quickly became excited at what he had done however. The curator is not exempt from the spitee v. spiter construct, and to personally have experienced first hand the ethos of spite generated by the exhibition is rewarding.

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*photo of the hot pink corner courtesy of Barbie Hull, the rest courtesy of the Lawrimore Project website

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Another day, another dollar.

Another Monday…

ANOTHER ADVENTURER PROFILE!

This week we’ve got our spotlight trained on Abigail Guay. 

She’s a Soft Rock Freedom Dancer with Mark Siano, another Adventurer Profile alum, so you know she’s gotta be fly. 

Abigail is also shaking things up over in Bellevue as Exhibitions Director of Open Satellite, “a contemporary art exhibition hall for the Seattle metropolitan area.” Open Satellite gives residency to 5 artists per year, national and international, to increase their presence and exposure in the Pacific Northwest.  

Please take note of Abigail’s yellow thigh high socks. This girl is keeping it real. For real.

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What skill do you want to learn?
Drums! I want to start a metal two-piece.

Food and drink you don’t want to live without?
Olives, goat cheese, and dirty martinis.

What’s the scariest thing you can think of?
Sarah Palin for president 2012.

What is your favourite party supply?
I miss those mom-assembled candy and tiny toy “party favor” bags.

Your favorite book of the moment?
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer. I particularly like the Venice segment, which outlines a journalist’s experience of a recent Venice Biennale. It is a pitch perfect (and shudder inducing) take on the high-end international art community.

Describe your dream party place.
I’d love to throw the perfect party at Open Satellite, my second home. Something created by me and my friends that will fill the space with perplexed but besotted passersby – and blow the doors off Bellevue.

What is the evil version of you like?
She rear-ends slow drivers.

What gives you confidence?
Being a Freedom Dancer. I’m more accustomed to it now, but I initially felt brave every time I put on one of my small and/or ridiculous costumes. I also love the feeling of connecting with the audience, the call (jazz hands) and response (laughter).

Name four essential elements of a good party.
A compelling reason to be there is key. After that: Hilarious and/or smarty pants guests, a dance floor, and damn good late-night snacks. (If you don’t plan the latter in advance, you’re stuck with string cheese quesadillas and those crunchy onions designed for green bean casseroles.)

What do you appreciate most about a party host?
Leadership.

Favorite adventure supply?
Wine in screwtop bottles.

Describe the best party you ever attended.
My 30th birthday started at Shorty’s (hotdogs and pinball). We then walked as a group to the Funhouse for an A Frames show and Jell-o shots.

Hotel room or campsite?
Hotel room! Two hotel highlights: Park Hyatt Tokyo (location for Lost in Translation – the window blinds were self-adjusting (sometimes startling) and there was a TV in the bathroom positioned for toilet viewing) and the Dolder Grand in Zurich. The Dolder is a very lightly renovated c. 1900 “spa” and/or TB clinic.

Do you have a style icon?
If I wasn’t such a tomboy, I’d aim for a 50/50 mix of Charlie’s Angels and mid-century pinup. Chloe Sevigny is a fairly good example of that.

Where is your next adventure destination?
If only. I’m slated to go home for the holidays – and I’m probably parked in Seattle until then.

If you could teach a class about anything in the world ever, what would you teach?
The History of Dirigibles.

Your motto?
I’m from NH: Live Free or Die.

What is your spirit animal?
Owl: An opinionated, Tootsie Pop eater and tree dweller – the mellowest of the birds of prey.

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For your vicarious adventuring pleasure, may I present Ms. Meghna Philip, brilliant, beautiful, brave, and a fellow Brown undergrad. She’s changing the world and I’m enormously proud; be inspired.  

dsc_1011I have been in India for almost two months now. I have spent my summer here traveling with two of my best friends, from Delhi to Mumbai to Chennai, working on a project called Networks for Peace. Its aim is to use a combination of face-to-face dialogue, research collaboration and digital media connectivity to create a platform for collaborative, policy-oriented engagement between top university students from Pakistan and India. 

We arrived in Delhi in the middle of June. It has been my first time coming to India on my own, without my family. I was born in Kerala, and lived in Bangalore until age 5, before we moved to New Jersey. Every other summer we came back to visit, but always stuck to the Keralan backwaters, whose intricate byways of extended family filled up all of our limited vacation days. So I had never been to India on my own, and never seen anything of it outside of Kerala. It has, needless to say, been quite an interesting excavation of the dualities of my upbringing.

I can think of no more apt word to describe this trip than “adventure”. An adventure of elephantineproportions, (we have made several friends of the pachyderm persuasion), from the hot, uncertain beginnings, to the rainy, monsoon-y middle, to this, the last, dizzying stretch. India is so big, vibrant, and diverse. We have experienced a broad swath of its architectural, climactic and cultural diversity. Going from the dry, hot dusty north, full of breathtaking and ancient Mughal architecture; to wet, coastal Mumbai, where commercial capital towers alongside decaying, gothic architecture from the British Raj; to Portuguese and French ports in Goa and Pondicherry, where the colors and foods and buildings again are varied, and seem transplanted straight from Europe into the heart of India. Traveling as a group of three girls has added its own flavor to our experience, along with all the curry, cumin and coriander… it is impossible to avoid the realities of frustrating gender dynamics, and the strong undercurrent of male voyeurism that seems to dominate every place we go. At the same time, intelligent young women seem to predominate the student populations we have been interacting with at various universities, and yesterday we arrived at Jawaharlal Nehru University in the middle of some sort of student demonstration and gave three cheers for a “Fight Patriarchy!” graffiti quite becomingly fashioned along the side of the Administrative Building.

It has been a fantastically exciting and productive summer. Networks for Peace is slated to begin within the next two weeks, with six of the best public and private universities in India and Pakistan participating, and some of the leading political think tanks on either side of the border collaborating. (Keep your eye out for us!) Now writing from Darjeeling, where, outside of my window, the rain is falling heavily, and clouds are rolling around on the winding streets! It is full of tea estates and gompas (monasteries) and Himalayan mountain views… one final adventure before heading back to the States. So from one rainy city to another, namaste and happy adventuring!
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Neon’s not just for signs anymore! It’s also for the ceilings of ultra-hip Chinese restaurants and Baroque chairs. But neon’s still for signs too (really cool ones, that is).

Keep your eyes peeled . Creative use of neon= The Adventure School’s new frontier.

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*neon chair photo courtesy of MocoLoco, Cafe Verite sign of WayMarking

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This week, good friend of The Adventure School and adventurous performance artist Mike Pham answers questions about life, the universe, and everything. He also gives us his two cents on the importance of cotton candy machines.

Speaking of important things, Mike’s performance group, The Helsinki Syndrome will be opening a re-imagined rendition of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest in “a performance that smashes the façade of A Very Famous Play.”

Catch the WORLD PREMIER  on Wednesday or Thursday at Crawl Space Gallery at 8pm or Friday at Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater at 8pm.

BAM! MIKE PHAM!

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What skill do you want to learn?
Mind Reading

Food and drink you donʼt want to live without?
Coffee and Cigarettes

What’s the scariest thing you can think of?
Love

Your favorite book of the moment?
De Profundis, By Oscar Wilde

Describe your dream party place.
A Hot Tub Inside A Limosine.

What is your favourite party supply?
Confetti

What is the evil version of you like?
Just Like Me But With A Curly Moustache.

What gives you confidence?
Whiskey

Name four essential elements of a good party.
1) Music
2) Proper Lighting
3) Stylish Guests
4) A Well Stocked Bar

What do you appreciate most about a party host?
When a party host effortlessly exhibits the skill of making each guest feel as if the party was thrown for especially for them.

Favorite adventure supply?
Cotton Candy Machine.

Describe the best party you ever attended.
The best parties do not live in the memory, but live in the soul.

Hotel room or campsite?
Hotel Room

Do you have a style icon?
Gene Kelly + Grace Kelly

Where is your next adventure destination?
New York City

If you could teach a class about anything in the world ever, what would you teach?
Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics – Apparatus: Ribbon

Your motto?
“If you liked it / then you shoulda put a ring on it”

What is your spirit animal?
A Badger.

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Once upon a time, Amanda Belantara left the United States and never looked back. From the moment of her departure, Amanda’s life has been a series of amazing adventures. She fell in love in Bali, got a ring tattooed on her finger, married on top of a mountain, and plans to spend the rest of her days making riotous art while exploring the unknown. And the rest, my dears, is history. 

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I’m a visual artist and documentary filmmaker originally from Pueblo, Colorado. I met my husband Michael seven years ago in an airport on the way to study music in Bali. We lived together in a small village called Bangah for the summer and married five weeks later on a volcano at sunrise and we’ve been traveling and living abroad for the most part ever since. Travels and work in countries like Indonesia, Japan, France, Greece, and Italy have led us to where we’ve lived the past couple of years- Manchester, UK. But having not lived in any particular place for so long…I’m not sure where home is.

I originally came Manchester to complete a masters in Visual Anthropology and have stayed here working with the art collective, Kinokophone and doing my own freelance work since then including creating documentaries, installations and sound projects, and developing other projects along the way like ArchitectSpiders. Earlier this year I had the fortune to be a resident artist in Yamaguchi, Japan at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village. There I created a collaborative and experimental film called 耳がきゅっとなる (Ears are Dazzled, touched by sound). I chose to create this form of non-narrative film because what I wish to achieve through my work is to not so much inform or explain but to create/present sensations and places for audiences to re-experience the everyday and reconsider places often taken for granted. But if I had to do something else, I might be creating pop up books, writing stories, or being a librarian.

I feel very lucky to be having this experience; it’s always a little surreal, especially when I re-visit places that were once very new and unfamiliar. Now I arrive and know how to get by there. Living abroad has inspired us. We’ve picked up a few things in our travels and added to our lifestyles: not wearing shoes inside, house slippers, tea drinking, milk in tea, sambal, not using cars, making my own salad dressing.

Athens near Omonia

Athens near Omonia

Ueno Koen, Tokyo

Ueno Koen, Tokyo

New Year's Eve Fox Parade, Tokyo

New Year's Eve Fox Parade, Tokyo

Provence

Provence

Chester, UK

Chester, UK

Beijing

Beijing

Red Square, Moscow

Red Square, Moscow

Shuho Town, Japan

Shuho Town, Japan

Akiyoshi Plain

Akiyoshi Plain

Filming in Yamaguchi City with noise artist Ishii Eiichi

Filming in Yamaguchi City with noise artist Ishii Eiichi

Arriving in Manchester, UK

Arriving in Manchester, UK

Estonian Forest

Estonian Forest

Estonian Singing Ampitheatre

Estonian Singing Ampitheatre

Danish Island

Danish Island

Romanian Pigs in Denmark

Romanian Pigs in Denmark

Along the river in Kyoto with artist Eisuke Yanagisawa

Along the river in Kyoto with artist Eisuke Yanagisawa

"Life Library" Still

"Life Library" Still

"Nobu San" Still

"Nobu San" Still

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