Fear and Loathing in Seattle
4 September 2007

I journeyed to Seattle this past weekend for a reading from The Back of the Line, a collaborative novel I made with Jeff Parker and DECODE Inc., better known as Stephen Lyons and John Jenkins. Steve is also one of the dealers at Platform Gallery where I exhibit. Steve and his boyfriend John put up with me…er, put me up for the holiday weekend. “You are a bad influence,” was the extent of Steve’s conversation Monday morning after we stayed up past our bedtimes having an iTunes battle. Apparently, we are both fiends for Neutral Milk Hotel and sad shoegazing indie rock. Throw in a few cocktails too many and we edged into some sloppy emotional territory. How can visual art possibly compete with the emotional whallop of a Neutral Milk Hotel song like Naomi or Gardenhead. Maybe it can’t. We didn’t reach resolution on that discussion before the beer and liqour took hold.

But before we got all drunk and emotional about our musical tastes, Jeff Parker and I had been up to no good at Platform Gallery for our reading. Jeff showed up an hour early and started the brown liqour flowing to get us into character. After we ‘finished’ the reading, a disturbed fellow started ranting about losing his job and asking for the art work. Before things got ugly, the Seattle P-I critic Regina Hackett stopped the irate audience member in his tracks. So taken back was the man that he fled the gallery before Regina knocked him out. Unfortunately for Parker and I, the guy was actually supposed to destroy a ‘prop’ drawing and then be revealed to be James J. Wreck, the main character of the book.

So surprised by Regina’s amazing intervention Parker and I fumbled the whole James thing and let our friend run off. Next time, Parker suggested we pull a reverse James Frey and say the book actually isn’t fiction, but based on the very real exploits of James. I now have to publicly apologize for dragging Regina into our planned interruption. “Sorry, Regina!” We then followed Parker over to a bookstore where he read to us and a few tight-lipped wierdos from his new novel, Ovenman. It’s a filthy read about about a guy who blacks out a lot and leaves himself post-it note reminders when he’s not slinging pies or singing in a hard core band that actually hates him. It will stain your shirt, maybe your heart. I did an aborted cover for the novel, but one of the drawings survives faded in the bumble-bee layout. That’s not my fault.

All in all, it was good trip to Seattle and my ego is only slightly bruised and battered after learning that my new favorite enemy Shamim Momim never requested a follow up package of my work from Platform after her trip to Seattle. She liked Jesse Burke though, who does creepy-excellent photographs exploring masculinity in often sublime surroundings. I’m no Biennial artist…just a sell-out loser. That and Shamim barely acknowledged my pathetic existence at dinner at Amalia a few weeks back. Now that was painful.

Next up, photographs from the set of Powhida, the biographical film directed by Sophia Coppola.

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