Here's the listing for my show in the LA Weekly. Scroll down to "Eastside/Downtown" or hit ctrl-f and search for "mcilvaine." See you there! How about a painting by Courbet of a cave to deepen the mystery:
More than 200 years ago, the Spanish explorer Juan Baustista de Anza passed Font's Point leading a band of men, women and mules northward to Monterey, California. The path he forged through the desert followed San Felipe Wash. Father Pedro Font, who served as official chaplain, diarist and observer on Anza's expeditions of 1775-76, described this vantage point of the Borrego Badlands later named for him as the "sweepings of the earth."
Priorities: The focus on art is great and fun, but the number one thing right now is baby and mommy. The baby dropped last night, down deeper into the pelvis like he's supposed to. I've been leaving most of the baby news to babalog, but I just have to say that it's a very very very exciting time right now. So many new thoughts and experiences, and he's not even here yet. Molli grows visibly every night, and the kid is kicking up a storm. I even watched an episode of Baby Story last night and got verkelpmt (doesn't everybody?)
posted by Greg 2:31 PM
Monday, August 26, 2002
I've been painting in the garage all weekend. It's got a metal door which absorbs the heat all day and makes it like an oven in there. I get completely wet with sweat, which is nice. It helps the flow. When I finally become so tired that I'm messing things up more than making them better I quit for the night. (I call this becoming "combat ineffective," which Molli thinks is not-so-cute. Didn't she see Black Hawk Down?) When I go upstairs I experience "painting on the brain," in which everything I look at is broken down into it's basic form and translated into the color and shape of the brush strokes needed to render it. Pretty wacky way of looking at the world. Though I still have a lot of work to do somehow, the paintings are looking finished and it's very exciting. Like any good project, I find myself looking at them all and saying, "How did I do that?" The answer: with a little help from Jimmie Rodgers, Django Reinhardt, Ozzy Osbourne, Bob Dylan, Don Gibson, ZZ Top, Tom Waits, The Blasters, Led Zepplin, Husker Du, Elvis, Ray Charles, Deep Purple, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, The Charming Snakes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, more Elvis, etc. Overall, Dylan's new record "Love and Theft" gets the most play. I find it's power, mastery, and it's fearless approach to expression to be particularly inspiring. Plus it makes me dance around.
The Dwight Yoakam / Hank III / The Blasters show at the Greek on Friday was spectacular. All three bands were great in their own ways and it was a perfect night for music at the Greek. The full moon rose during the show, enhancing Molli's already radiant glow. It was such a great night, even the drunk women who snaked our taxi couldn't bring us down. Dwight is a great performer, but the unsung hero of his band is guitarist Pete Anderson. He is truly ripping in a tasty way, reaching Gattonesqe heights of telecaster manipulation, including chicken pickin', banjo rolls, and making melodies out of false harmonics, something other guitarists don't think is possible or would never try. Awesome!
posted by Greg 1:23 PM
I've been tempted to post more pictures and I will, but I'm saving a few of the biggest paintings so they'll be a suprise. Wine lovers: We're making arrangements with M. Brown wines of Santa Barbara and Austrailia to supply some superior vintages for the opening. The pressure's on, but I'm looking forward to blowing off steam this Friday night at the Greek seeing the knockout triple bill of Dwight Yoakam, The Blasters, and Hank III. Gotta get the kid started on honky-tonk and RandB as early as possible!
The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an art education; his is already qualified. He needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order... Art appears in many forms. To some degree every human being is an artist, dependent on the quality of his growth. Art need not be intended. It comes ineveitably as the tree from the root, the branch from the trunk, the blossom from the twig. None of these forget the present in looking backward or forward. They are occupied wholly with the fulfillment of their own existence. The branch does not boast of the relation it bears to its great ancestor the trunk, and does not claim attention to itself for this honor, nor does it call your attention to the magnificent red apple it is about to bear. Because it is engaged in the full play of its own existence, because it is full in its own growth, its fruit is ineveitable.
It's crunch time at the Apollo: Show coming up. Postcards going out. Press release to write. Fake scholarly articles to concoct. Locked in the sweat box with pallette and CD's: Buck Owens, Stray Cats, Elvis, Queen, Dylan, Tennesee Ernie Ford, 50's Hank Thompson, Neil Young, 70's Hank Thompson, Phil Hendrie. Paintings everywhere needing attention. No time to complete sentences.
posted by Greg 3:13 PM
I've been charging my batteries by visiting museums the last couple weekends. As you can tell from the pictures bellow, we went to Balboa park in San Diego to see the Renoir exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art and while we were there we visited the very cool Timken Museum. The Renoir show was an attempt to show the influence of Renoir's style on American artists from the turn of the century up through the forties. Alongside Renoir originals were works by Glackens, Sloan, Henri and more. I've put up the great Robert Henri "portrait of Bernadita" bellow. I have a real appreciation of Renoir, especially his later work when his obsessions with the female form were given free rein. I also like the Ashcan artists like Sloan and Henri, and any chance to see their work is welcome. The show did a good job illustrating how renoir's sense of color, composition, and lack of sharpness influenced the Americans. Upstairs in the permanent collection there are a few outstanding pictures, including a great El Greco and a tiny but wonderful painting by Frans Hals.
The Timken Museum is a free museum located next to the SDMA. It's a funny building built in 1965, which looks like it hasn't ever been changed. Even the nice old gaurds seem like they've been there for 37 years. It's natural light makes it an ideal place to look at pictures, so who cares if it reminds you of a motel lobby? The Timken is made up of the collection of two sisters who retired in San Diego, and it contains 5 or 6 extremely great paintings. One of them is Rembrandt's "St. Barthalomew," a good example of his late work. The Saint emerges from darkness, his expressive face given emotion by with layers of thick impasto paint. Very strong. The museum also contains a great portrait by Jaques Louis David which I put up bellow. It's a curious picture, with the upper half just being dark background, but the figure is perfectly rendered and is incredibly lifelike. The Timken also contains a nice Frans Hals, a great Bruegel, a cool George Inness.
Last weekend I went to the Huntington Library and gardens with my buddies Lance and Cal. Cal is two, and he definately seemed more interested in the many cool plants (and dead leaves) than the high-falutin' art. I did sneek into the Scott Gallery of American art, where they have a classic John Sloan, a great Walt Kuhn acrobat picture, some impressive Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargents, and this beautiful picture by Edward Hopper:
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002) - Good Good Good Good - This is an awesome movie with a lot going for it: it's funny, smart, action-packed, and super sweet without being cheesy. I loved the first Spy Kids and so maybe I was biased, but this film kept me interested and plastered a smile on my face from start to finish. I liked the digital video look which director Robert Rodriguez gets. He allows special effects to look like effects because he realizes that the strength of the movie lies in the characters and the storytelling, not the amount of money spent to make a realistic looking "cat-fish." And it feels like the digital format allowed him to keep every special effect he could think of in the movie without worrying about it's impact on the budget. Oh yeah, one more thing: Steve Buscemi!
The Fast and the Furious (2001) - Eh - Lots of car chases and a bunch of characters you don't believe set in a place that doesn't exist. Did I mention the car chases?
posted by Greg 2:32 PM
Blue Suede Shoes (1980) - Good Good Good Good - Have you ever seen a one-eyed piano player smash up a piano with a hatchet? Have you seen him then seem to realize that a hatchet isn't suitable and pull out a full axe? Have you seen him chop up the piano, throw bits out to the audience, then go back to the other piano and play another solo with his hands and feet? Have you seen him call out a solo for the guitar player and then pull out his thermos and pour himself a cup of coffee? If not, you should find this movie. It's a documentary about the rockabilly revival in England in the late 70's that's a classic. It combines a fascinating cultural study of pale English kids obsessed with early american rock and roll (which to them means pompadours and confederate flags) with raw high-energy concert performances by various combos, including the aforementioned and pictured Freddie "Fingers" Lee (The One-eyed Boogie Boy,) Ray Campi, Bill Haley and others. The movie works because it strikes a great balance between hilarious interviews with the kids and frentic sweaty concert performances. At one point an older "original teddy boy" introduces his three sons, all Teddy's themselves. He says of his youngest (who we see dancing later,) "This is my favourite son, he loves music and he loves his dad, and he's proof that rock and roll will never die," then dad shows us his tattoo which says appropriately, "Rock and Roll Will Never Die." I've always thought rockabilly was the best music, but if you have any doubts about that, this movie will erase them.
posted by Greg 10:57 AM
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) - Good Good Good Good - This is the Frank Capra movie that Adam Sandler's "Mr. Deeds" was based on. It's about a simple country man who inherits millions and all the slick New Yorkers who try to take advantage of him. Like most Capra films, it's moralistic and uplifting in an entertaining way, and has you cheering for the hero in the end. One of the most interesting things about this movie and Capra in general is his mixture of themes of patriotic capitalism (at one point Deeds says to the shifty lawyers who offer to take care of his money for free, "why would you work for nothing? That's just not natural." And when the opera committee reveals that they operate at a loss, he insists that they must be doing something wrong.) with justice and empathy for the poor. In the modern world these ideals are often considered mutually exclusive, as in right and left wing, but Capra's movies remind us of an era when they could co-exist to create an American ideal. Seeing this made me think that Sandler and Co. did a pretty good job updating it, dropping lots of stuff that was dated while retaining the spirit and some specific jokes from the original.
Collateral Damage (2002) - Bad Bad - It's becoming more and more difficult to believe Arnold as an action hero. He's just plain old. An innovative screenplay or stylish production can save him, but this movie does not have that. Instead it is very cliched, the suspense is predictable and the action sequences are not exciting. It's the kind of movie where when it's over you can't really remember exactly what happened because it made you think of so many other movies that they get jumbled in your head. This is one of the movies delayed due to 9/11 because it's about terrorism, but aside from one scene early in the film (which had me cheering) it's just too silly to be worth analyzing on that level.
posted by Greg 12:06 PM
Thanks Tony for saying such nice things about me. I'm getting verklempt !sob! sniff. Talk amongst yourselves. I met Tony in the dorms at UCSB (San Nic if you must know.) He was down on the all male first floor with the other "questionable" personalities. But I really got to know him through poetry classes at the College of Creative Studies where he studied Lit and I studied Art. We became friends and his constant creativity and "unique views" have been an inspiration ever since. I even wrote a song about his philosophy called "Tony Said Love." Tony's readings at our Hootennannies added the much needed high literary flair to our drunken songsmithing, and I still treasure the poetry books he made in that era. When we lived together in LA back in the early 90's Tony spent a lot of time typing away on his amber screened computer, doing something strange called "chat." He practically slept through the Northridge Earthquake while me and Jeff freaked out about our chimney falling down. Later in Frisco, Tony took to the internet like a fish to water and started one of the very first online magazines, the infamous Lick (can't find a link.) Tony was one of the first to embrace the internet as a totally new forum for art, and I think he has a great intuition about what works in this format. He understood that pictures and words work better than animation and sound at this point, and within this framework he's done great things. I'm glad he's developed such a large and appreciative (and if you found this from his page, smart and attractive) audience for his art. Nothing here is untrue. PS: Did I mention that he turned me on to Gwar?
posted by Greg 10:45 AM
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) - Good Good Good Good - This is a classic which highlights the horror of a Georgia chain gang. It's bleak and sad and just when you think the happy ending is coming, hope fades back to the shadows like Paul Muni's face in the last shot of the picture. By exposing the brutality of the chain gang system, this film helped popularize the movement which eventually ended that system. I could have done without Rob Reiner's condescending intro, part of the Turner Classic Movies Essentials series. Didn't he used to be funny?
Ken B. suggests: Gregory John McIlvaine: Arty-ar-ar Gregory John McIlvaine: The Green Manalishi
Amanda B. Suggests: Gregory John McIlvaine: You Don't Have to be Old to be Wise