This is the coastline off of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara. While driving on the 101, we saw a bunch of cars parked on these turn-offs on the side of the highway. We were excited to get to a beach on this trip, because thusfar it had been between fifty-five and seventy degrees. We first tried pulling off for a state beach, but it looked as though we’d have to pay. Turns out we were wrong, but what did we know, we had already turned back. We eventually parked on one of the turn-offs directly on the side of the highway. We hopped some brambly bushes, walked over a train track, and scrambled through another, much larger patch of brambly bushes to the edge of infinity.
This is Mike on the edge of infinity.
This is me in mid-sentence, saying, “Hey dude, infinity is larger than I expected.”
The drive from San Francisco to Santa Barbara was quick. So quick that we managed to arrive half and hour before we expected, even after spending over an hour and a half mucking around on the road. Certainly a full day.
My mother’s family lives in Santa Barbara. My grandma, my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. I’ve been seeing them more in the past two years, just because I’ve been coming to California more and more frequently. My family is small and it’s a treat being able to see them as much as I have been.
I’m going to fast forward to some more pictures. To sum it up -
We arrived and caught up with my grandma, who is looking great and doing well.
Had dinner with my grandma and two cousins, Haley and Lindsey (hope I’m spelling that correctly). Both girls are extremely busy all the time, always pursuing what they love. My aunt and uncle were out of town until Sunday. We arrived on Thursday evening. Mike and I extended our stay in order to have a full family dinner on Sunday evening.
After the first night’s dinner, Mike and I crashed. I woke up early the next morning and got in touch with Sandra at Turkey Press. Had never met her or Harry, who both run Turkey Press together. Was recommended to meet them, though, since they are makers of all kinds - printmaking, book making, painting-making, food-making, etc. I headed over to their home in the late morning and was greeted by their friend in the driveway. I poked around their expansive book collection in the living room while waiting for Sandra to get out of the shower. Spent the morning hanging out with Sandra while she prepared food for a dinner she was hosting. I believe that the kitchen is often one of the nicest places to get to know someone. Sandra and I immediately hit it off. Harry was in a meeting and we met up with him shortly after. They showed me their studio in the back yard. It was gorgeous. Larger than their house and made by them. I am generally biased against paintings. Ask me why sometime, it’s nothing intense, just personal preferences and possibly a bit of ignorance. Harry’s paintings struck me in a way that most paintings do not. They felt very confident and mature. The textures that were created transcended the medium. In many paintings, I can see the hand struggling against the paint. In Harry’s paintings, he manipulated the paint to create abstractions and textures that were nearly photo-realistic.
Harry and Sandra showed me a good deal of their book work. Sandra’s printing is impeccable. So pristine. Seemingly flawless. At least to my eyes. They work a great deal with ideas of indeterminacy. It was interesting to see how much Cage had crept into their work. Sandra is a devout explorer of printmaking, in the same way that Harry manipulates his paints to extraordinary ends, Sandra does the same with her printmaking processes, often engaging in laborious processes in order to create often-overlooked, yet absolutely gorgeous effects. This makes the work of Turkey Press stand out from other small presses that I’ve come across. The devotion to the craft to the point of innovation and often transcendence.
I accidentally locked myself out of my car while I was at their house and had to wait for Mike to come with the extra set of keys. While waiting, Harry and Sandra had to run some errands. I sat in their living room with their collection of books at my disposal. I spent my twenty-five minute wait exploring a book they had made in 1995 (I think that’s correct). It was a book of poetry by John Laughlin. The illustrations and poems were fabulous! I snapped photos of two poems that stuck me. Laughlin’s writing was direct, without pretension. The design of the book held the words seamlessly. I it was printed on some kind of warped laid Zerkall paper, where the prominent grain waved across the sheet. It was called Heart Island & Other Epigrams. Here is a beautiful video of it: http://vimeo.com/7808570
And two pictures of poems I enjoyed:
After leaving Turkey Press, Mike, Haley, and I went to the beach downtown. First, we got frozen yogurt for lunch. Healthy, I know. We took the trolley car for a quarter down to the water. Instead of sitting in the sand, we ended up watching people at the skate park for over an hour. I could do that for days. I no longer skateboard, in order to protect my paws, but I still have the itch. Mike and I made up names for the different skaters. Chad McChill, because he was a bro. Of course. Wu Tang. Those are the only two I can remember right now, but we had a bunch. After the park, we headed back to my Grandma’s and had another very nice dinner with my Grandma, Haley, and Linsday (spelled it differently just in case). I had a show that evening in Isla Vista and were stopping by the UCSB MFA show before hand.
At college art shows, I reach my most critical and skeptical. Maybe not a good way to be. It’s kind of like when I go into Guitar Center. I used to think everyone was trying to trick me into buying something I didn’t need. I feel similarly at college art shows often. The people in them spent so much money to be in this show. Some of them worked hard, some maybe didn’t, but they all want desperately for it to have been worth something to them, since they spent so much time and money. Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but I feel a sense of desperation in the room when I enter a BFA or MFA show. With that said, there were some pleasant moments at the show. We ran into Rebecca, who was a friend we met last time we were in town. She had set up the shows both times. Last year, I met up with her on our way out of town and we geeked out about books. It was a pleasure running into her again. I knew I would see her at the show later in the evening, but wasn’t sure about the MFA show. After chitting and chatting for a bit, Mike and I headed over to the house in Isla Vista where I was playing.
Isla Vista is like Road Warrior if instead of guns and motorcycles, everyone had forties and road bikes. The streets were flooded with college kids roaming around in packs, looking for the next round of beer pong. We waded through the sea of bros in our car and eventually landed in front of the house. Turns out it is one door down from where I had spent my morning. Go figure.
Arriving at the house, we were greeted by a roommate who was moving out. He was preoccupied and no one else was home, so Mike and I lounged on the couch. Mike showed me this short documentary he has been telling me about all year. It’s called UP THERE. Highly recommend checking it out. Very worth while.
Folks began showing up around nine-thirty. We met a whole group of wonderful new people. Rebecca and her friend, Mallory performed together as Remambran. It was wonderful! They switched off playing guitar and both sang together. Close harmonies. At points, it was hard to discern whose voice was whose. The two voices meshed in unison to create a composite harmony that was one voice. At very rare moments the two voices would switch between throat voices and nose voices, hitting a slight yodel together. Check out another recording of Remambran here: http://www.phoningitin.net/shows/590-Remambran. Rebecca also plays in a thousand other bands. Watercolor Paintings is one of them. She does it with her brother, Josh. Czech it. Eleanor Murray was supposed to play as well, but was deathly ill. Unfortunate loss. Glad to meet her, though. Abigail Peachtree did perform, though. Outstanding. Her singing orbited her guitar lines and was constantly referencing itself and re-inventing lines that were just sung. A blast. We hung out for a while after the show. Mallory and Rebecca played a few more songs. Mike and I eventually headed back to my grandma’s and crashed.
Santa Barabara - all hearts.
Next up - breakfast, surfing, drive-ins. We spent a lot of time in Santa Barbara. Time well spent.