mc recommends

Reclaiming The Big Box

It's no secret that I am addicted to National Public Radio. After all, I can absorb a huge amount of balanced, intelligent news stories, sprinkled liberally with culture, arts and entertainment while doing an equally huge amount of work! Eyes not required!

Every once in a while, I hear a story that I'm compelled to share here. Today's pick, from NPR's All Things Considered, is about the work of artist and professor Julia Christensen. Recognizing the enormous blight that big box stores and their hulking remnants have left on our country's landscape, Christensen set about documenting the fate of those large, rectangular structures that were abandoned by their makers - doomed due to the inevitable outsizing perpetuated by their dominance on our consumer spending. With the sheer number of large footprint stores X-d off of the active storelist by the world's hungriest companies, many communities are attempting to reclaim the disused space.

"on this site... a commentary" - photo by Marc Levin - Creative Commons: some rights reserved

Above: "on this site...a commentary", Photo by Marc Levin, via flickr

Christensen's new book, "Big Box Reuse", published by The MIT Press, documents how (Main Street!) America is taking back millions of square feet through adventurous, mixed-use projects that benefit their communities. While Hormel's homage to SPAM isn't necessarily the most gloriously useful example; Lebanon, Missouri's public library and Route 66 museum is. Just click here to listen to the full broadcast.

Make Noise, Not War: HONK! Fest Spans The Region

Perhaps you were one of the thousands of revelers who made it up to Somerville and Cambridge this holiday weekend to stomp and sweat to the collective din of brass, reed, percussion and activism that is the annual HONK! Fest. If you weren't, don't fret - Titubanda, the legendary 35-piece brass, percussion, reed and dance band hailing di Roma has one more day of local parade action in store for us.

Titubanda performs activist street band joy at Providence's Kennedy Plaza - October 13, 2008

Above: Titubanda performs with swirling, whirling audience participation at Providence's Kennedy Plaza - October 13, 2008.

While they may be swathed in woolen scarves and coats, as our crisp New England October climate feels like arctic ice to our Mediterranean friends; (case in point: my brother-in-law vacillated between the ubiquitous speedo and baffling winter garb while visiting us in AUGUST) however, cold fingers will not stop the hot music!

Join Titubanda today at 7pm for a joyous parade, beginning at Fulton Hall (corner of Hope and Benevolent), and heading down College Hill to RISD's Market House Square for an 8:30pm concert. From traditional popolo village songs, to "avant-guard jazz via Latin American rhythms and Arabic melodies", Titubanda will leave you crying "Bis!"

Everybody Wins! The AS220 Community Printshop First Biennial Print Lottery

To celebrate their 1-year anniversary as the only public printshop in Rhode Island, the AS220 Community Printshop will hold their First Biennial Print Lottery tomorrow, Saturday, September 27th, from 7-10pm. All ticket holders will win an original printed art work, representing a variety of print media practiced and taught in the shop. The blind lottery selection includes works in: drawing, monoprint, screenprint, etching, lithograph, woodblock, stencil and letterpress...all created in the warm glow of the communal Printshop.

AS220 Community PrintShop First Biennial PrintLottery!

Lottery tickets are set at a $75 flat rate, with proceeds to support the AS220 printshop's public programs. All work is currently on exhibit in the AS220 main gallery for your eager perusal. See you there!

AS220 and everything that entails: 115 Empire Street Providence, RI 02903

Design*Sponge Spotlights Providence!

I'm already hard at work researching year-end exhibits and events for the close of 2008 issue of Artscope Magazine. It's always an exciting and overwhelming process, given the tenacious exuberance of our itty-city's art scene. Given that, I was overjoyed to discover the topic of yesterday's Design*Sponge guest blog post. Fellow East-sider Christine Chitnis compiled the Providence City Guide for Design*Sponge's ongoing roster of city-specific design guides - all excellent resources for design-o'-philes on the go!

Waterfire: hlkphoto.comAbove: "Waterfire" by Heather Katsoulis

With press releases and colorful exhibit announcements scattered about my studio floor, I was more than happy to add a few key arts destinations to the comments section, including: AS220, The Steelyard and CAV. A must read! Thanks to Grace and Christine for helping to highlight Providence as an arts and design destination.

Baffi D'Oro (The Golden Mustaches)

While I don't go much for the smoke and mirror froofery of the leading political party conventions, I admit that I have been tuning in here and there to the DNC (until the excess of barfy inspirational classic rock forces me to change the channel to good old fashioned baseball). Regardless, I'm trying to put on a brave face for the election this November, and give my fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt that they won't persist in supporting the ongoing error of the current Republican party.

Presidential Facial Hair Hall of Fame Gocco Stickers by jelloh on Etsy

Speaking of brave face, check out these extraordinary Presidential Facial Hair Hall of Fame gocco stickers from jelloh on Etsy. While our current candidates are silky smooth, and suspiciously not sporting anything as rockin' as mutton chops, why not celebrate the presidential facial hair legacy of our forefathers Lincoln, Roosevelt, Taft (and Van Buren)! Printed on "fancy printmaking paper", these large handprinted gocco stickers are the original designs of Philadelphia based artist El Lohse. Pick up a mixed pack of 10 baffi (mustaches) sporting presidents for only $12 shining American dollars!

Presidential Facial Hair Hall of Fame Gocco Stickers by jelloh on Etsy

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