Sunday, 27 July 2014

Boyhood/I Am Divine

It's come to the point now where I leave the house so infrequently, when I do I feel it's blog worthy!
So today (Friday) I went to see Boyhood. I have a few days off work so thought what better way to spend this lovely warm day by sending in a cool dark cinema for a few hours.
This morning I was thinking about going to see Boyhood when I got the offer to accompany the lovely Suzy and see it for free, so I was all hell yeah!
I didn't know much about it before going in aside from it was by Richard Linklater and featured the same cast as it was filmed over 12 years! I waited outside the cinema and saw a girl I went to both Primary and secondary school with begging outside of Sainsbury's and thought 'what is life?!?!', so I was hardly surprised when I came out of the cinema a few hours later thinking I'm about to have an existential crisis!

I'm not going to review the film and say what happened cuz I am rubbish at that and I don't want to spoil it. But I'll say a few words.

Firstly I bloody loved it, I mean it was like 2 1/2 hours long! I come from the John Waters school of films, where 90mins is as long as I want a film to be (I think I do everything so fast I don't even like long songs and some of my favourite albums are probably no longer than 25minutes!) so for me to sit through a film for that long is a feat in itself! And do you know what, it didn't even feel that long, at no point did I think is it over? It should end soon.

Secondly, it kinda blew my mind! Like I knew they used the same actors, but I was used to coming of age films where younger actors are replaced and older actors are made to look younger/older. SO I was sat there thinking oh look Ethan Hawke looked still kinda 90s at the start and now not so much, or haven't they made Patricia Arquette age really genuinely, and I had to keep telling myself THEY AGED IN REAL TIME!!!!

This also made me feel like I was growing with the characters, like when you really get into a book and by the end you feel like you are friends with the characters and a few days after you missed them. like watching someone's home videos for over a decade.

I left the cinema with a lovely warm feeling, yet that cloud of 'WHAT IS LIFE' aforementioned existential crisis!
I turned 30 this year and feel like I'm having a second adolescence and as much as I love a coming of age story I sometimes get freaked out by them. I'm currently reading Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, which is about two sisters going away to university. Towards the end of Boyhood, there was a lot about going off to University.
I pretty much sucked at higher education, once a highschool student most likely to go to university, I ended up being a 4 time college dropout and never made it to uni! Whilst most of the time I don't regret my education choices it's when I see/read stories like these I do regret it.
I feel like I missed out on a lot of things! I mean those college/uni years I did do stuff, but with my fear of change and new things and my natural state being 'let's just stay holed up in my room' I start to panic and worry that I didn't have that chance to grow.
I'm just being dramatic and what's done is done, but it's how I sometimes feel and how the film made me feel...

Anyway enough about me, the point being Boyhood made me feel, whether it was the impending second adolescence I am possibly in or the warm feeling I got, it made me feel and that's good.

I said to Suzy she must have really enjoyed it as she is a mother and it focusses a lot not just on children growing but parents too. Something for everyone.
In fact anyone that has ever been a teenager or unsure of the world (which I think is everyone!) then there is something you can relate to.

Indietracks is on this weekend and I am of work and feeling sorry for myself that I wasn't stood next to some steam trains in Derbyshire watching The Blue Minkies kill it. So the next day (Saturday) saw me hitting the cinema again (filling my thrice yearly cinema visit quota already!) to see the documentary I Am Divine.
I didn't really have any expectations of this, I know a few people who had seen it but don't really know what the general feeling about it was.
Unlike Boyhood it was my perfect film length at just 90minutes! And I was engaged for the whole time!
It was your early years-rise to fame-mainting your career- sad sudden death kinda documentary with anectdotes and commentary from friends and family and co-stars (Divine's mum, John Waters, Mink Stole, Ricki Lake, drag performers, PA's, and more).
I enjoyed seeing how Divine's look came about, his work ethic and him enjoying life. I also totally loved seeing all his looks!
I really enjoyed it and it seems they managed to fit it all in there without feeling like they were repeating themselves or missing large parts out. I don't think I learned much but enjoyed seeing all the footage, my only qualm was some of the graphics used seemed a little cheap and not in a good way, but I am fussy!
I laughed, I cried a little but mostly I felt inspired. With Divine's closing quote about dreaming big, working hard and believing in yourself left me feeling like I could do anything....
So off I went to dream big (and even when my mood turned sour after a one hour wait for the bus home) and fulfil my destiny!

Brown Girl(s) 2/ POC I need you!

Yesterday was the 26th day of International Zine month, and that days task was to contribute to a compilation zine. I didn't do that, unless you count my own!

Earlier this year (I think!) I completed a zine about me and my experiences with being brown! I cleverly called it Brown Girl...

As soon as I got back from the printers I remembered how I wanted to write about my favourite Caribbean foods, I kicked myself for forgetting.
I have since sold out of the zine (and hoping to get my arse in gear to get some more printed soon) but I got lots of awesome feedback and made me think in order for me to write about my favourite food I should just do another. But not one filled with just my voice. A lot of the feedback I got was how other WOC would like to tell their story.

So.... in short POC I NEED YOU! I want your contributions for Brown Girl 2! You can write about anything, your stories, whether it's about finding your place, your hair or food! You don't have to write, you can draw, collage, photograph ANYTHING I just need your contributions!

If you are interested get in touch:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Finding The Value

Friday night saw me taking a roadtrip to York for the opening of Finding The Value A group exhinition that features some new work by Alison Erika Forde.

The exhibition is made up of five artists(Andrew Bracey, Alison Erika Forde, Yvette Hawkins, Susie Macmurray and Simon Venus) and is in York St.Mary's, an old church that is an absolutely beautiful place.
Finding The Value see's the artists take items from the Madsen collection (which was left to Yorks museum trust by Peter Madsen, a collection full of paintings, sculptures, works on paper and much more) and create new works in response to those items they chose.

If anyone know's of Alison's work, you already know she loves to paint on found objects, old prints from charity shops, cupboard doors, whatever takes her fancy, so this was right up her street!
Alison did say she had never worked onto originals before so found it a little daunting.
Where she usually dreams up all manner of charcters, this time she incorparoted charceters from items she found in the collection, working on paitings, sculptures, tapestry works and an old scroll roll with a list full of ministers!

I know I am biased but it was all AMAZING! I love seeing everything she does, getting my face in her paitings, blowing my mind at how tiny she can paint and just getting lost in it all!

It's definitely worth a visit for her art, the other's art and the building alone!
Runs until 2nd November.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The zines I have made...

It's July which means it's International zine month. Every year I tell myself I'm going to participate in it somehow, but every year I remember how much of a procrastinator I am and nothing gets done.
This year is no different, I need to get my arse in gear as my to do list is forever full.
Anyway in the spirit of thinking about zines I ventured into my bottom/zine drawer that's jam packed full of letters, notepads scraps of paper and all the zines I have made pre Sugar Paper.
Any zines I made after and including Sugar Paper are accessible and not tucked away in a drawer as these are my 'more serious grown up zines' that I actually do reprint.
The ones in the drawer however, the half done ones, the never to reach the printing stage ones, THE TEENAGE ONES will forever remain in that drawer!
I flicked through some of the zines and I cringed, I mean nobody, NOBODY wants to read all their feelings from when they were 15! The zines are full of all different things, gig reviews, pop culture nonsense, and the 'totally just got into riot grrrl in the last few years' of talking sex, liberation and empowerment. Also full of all that teen angst, self loathing and mostly boredom.

Now why, if I find them so cringeworthy and am never going to print them and hope all copies are now non existent and no one will ever see them again, why do I keep the masters?
I don't know maybe to remind myself that not all the things I felt as a teen will be felt now, growing older is good, you change, you grow, it's weird. But I think it's to remind myself of all the zines I have made and how much I like doing zines and if I ever think what I want to write about is stupid or I think I'm too old to be making zines, I look back and go I've been doing this since I was 15 and I bloody enjoy it!

SO in short happy international zine month, enjoy zines, making or reading, either way enjoy them.

Here's to another 15 years of zine making!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Sugar Paper # 13 OUT NOW!

Yes it's finally here, Sugar Paper #13- the adventuring issue!
Including knitted binocular bag, mango sorbet recipe, make a bowl from a coconut, which Goonie are you?, elderflower cordial, ackee and salt fish recipe and MORE!

Comes with free magnets to make your own compass.

Awesome front cover illustrated by Stef Bradley.


Monday, 26 May 2014

London and it's yarn art!

Last week I headed to London, I was supposed to go and see The Julie Ruin, but the gig was cancelled, but I still got to hang with friends, go to a Becky Cloonan signing and surprise my sister with a Lush spa visit. I also got to see two awesome exhibitions:

Kandy Diamond- Death By Knitting
Prick Your Finger

Ok so I was obviously going to love this as it's Kandy's exhibition, but what's not to love about knitted film posters that are 3D!!!
Yes that's right she has machine knitted posters from movies that feature murder by knitting in some form or other and once you put on some red/blue 3D glasses the posters come to life! SO GOOD!

She has also made a zine to accompany the exhibition!

And 11 year old me particularly enjoyed seeing a knitted 3D Devon Sawa!

Miss Van- Glamorous by Darkness
Olek- Let's not get caught, let's keep going
Stolen Space gallery

I was super excited to see some Miss Van art up close and personal (thanks for the heads up Kellie!)
From street art to fine art, it was a joy to see those signature pursed pout ladies big on the wall. The collection at SSG was very Marie Antoinette meets magical forest party: Pastel hair, venetian masks, animal heads nude ladies, so good!
This was in the back room and in the front was work from Olek, another rare treat. A close friend of Miss Van (her show title is a quote from Thelma and Louise) Olek's work is an interpretation of some of Miss Vans pieces. She swapped paint and canvas for real life models, photographs and of course what olek is known for CROCHET!!!
The images were amazing and the walls were covered floor to ceiling in grey crochet, ARGH!

It made me want to go home and get way better at crochet. Also whenever I see a form of craft or textile art in a gallery space I get excited because I love to see traditional craft skills getting excepted as art!

I think it's totally fitting to just leave this song here....

Friday, 16 May 2014

So far being 30 is rad: Part 2....

Aside from my birthday festivities at home, I decided that seeing as I had another week off work and had managed to clear my credit card debt, I would create some more debt by going to NEW YORK CITY!
It was worth it!
Here is what I got up to....

I set off on my adventures Tuesday morning (and not at daft o'clock either, woo). Flying from Manchester straight into JFK.
I know I have lots of friends who have a great interest in plane food, so here is what I got. the choice was beef stroganoff or cheese tortellini, I went for the tortellini. It came with a bread roll, radish salad and Italian dressing (did not eat, I have a condiment/dressing fear) some crackers and a little pot of laughing cow and a pack of coconut and orange biscuits for afters. The later snack was ham and cheese roll, more laughing cow and crackers, dried fruit, hand cooked sea salt crisps and a Kit Kat. Ate everything except the dressing.
It was one of those plane with shared TV screens that I couldn't see, but they showed Walter Mitty so I wasn't arsed. had NYC adventures to plan!

I arrived in NY about midday! got myself a Metrocard (did a little excitement wee, see Le Tigre's My My Metrocard) and got a subway to my B&B.
Got chatted up on the subway by a guy named Bless (as in God Bless (his words)).

Get to my B&B (3B in Brooklyn which is AWESOME by the way ad if anyone is going to NYC I recommend you stay here!) I get changed and head out!
I got stressed I'll be honest, it was super hot, busy I was tired and didn't know where I was going. it took me 20 minutes to find the subway that was like 2 minutes away!
Eventually I got on my way and went to ride the Staten Island ferry (cuz it's free and gives you a decent view of Statue of Liberty!).
That was fun and calmed me down a little.

Then I went for a owner, saw the Ghostbusters firehouse, walked along the Highline (old disused rial track now turned into fancy walk way with plants and art and stuff).
view from the Highline

Went to Printed matter shop, but none of the zines were for me really so didn't buy owt.

Realise I have been awake for more than 20 hours so head back to B&B for an early night.

Think I slept for around 10 hours (a lot for me!) had lots of cups of Early grey tea (B&B had lots of supplies of loose leaf tea, no 'proper tea' like) and some sweet crumble and yogurt for breakfast (so good).
Headed towards east Village, but having one of those wrong days.
Screaming Mimi's- shut
Patricia Field- shut
Tea shop- non existent
Ice cream shop- shut
fleamarket- non existent
But I did get a nice raspberry cupcake, mainly because I needed to use 'the restroom'.
Thought 'sod trying to be all cool' and went to the Empire state.
That was GREAT! such a clear day and great views and NYC looks like it's not real, it's so flat and the buildings are so tall, it's like a bunch of Lego!

Went to eat at Shake Shack, which involved queuing for ages, got a chicken dog, fries and peanut butter milkshake. It was good but I think it might have given me a dodgy stomach (which I then had for the next two days).
Walked past The Chelsea Hotel and back on the Highline before heading back to B&B for a rest before I went out to see Heathers the musical!!!!

So, Heathers, it was in a small theatre, had no stage setting and minimal props. but I enjoyed it!
Ok so it was nowhere near as dark as the film and they made it a little cheesy/camp. Veronica seemed to be a bit goofy and a bit wet for my liking, JD looked far too wholesome.
But the songs were good and the lass who played Heather Chandler was amazing. Plus they got all the important lines in there, so I was happy!
No, I'm a Veronica!

 That was enough excitement for one day!
(my 'room mates' went to see Hedwig this night too, totally wasn't jealous (totally was))

Finally caught up on enough sleep to take advantage of the awesome breakfasts at my B&B. Went for a 3 courser! Starting with cereal, then kale and tomato omelette and finishing with a wheatberry salad.
Headed towards Broadway as I was taking a tap dance class at Broadway dance centre! I opted for the basic class (I was glad as I waited I saw some of the beginners class, and that was no way beginners!).

It was great fun, lot's of rhythm tap and I got a bit lost as some of the terminology was American and so was all what? oh you mean that, that's not what we call it in England! but I proper enjoyed it.
Walked to Times Square didn't last long there, too busy, then over to Grand Central Station, which is ridiculously grand and huge!

After that I went to Society of Illustrators comic museum place. Which was good and saw loot's of great work.
I then thought I'm in NYC I should be all American and... go for afternoon tea (too British for my own good). Finally found a tea place and it was really sweet, Alice's Cup.

I got afternoon tea for one, which was American style, ie everything was huge, smoked chicken and goats cheese sandwich, was massive, none of that finger butty nonsense. My scone (pumpkin and glazed caramel) was like the size of my face and the selection of 4 cookies (where's the batternburg!?!) had to come home in a doggy bag for the next day, I was stuffed, so tasty though as was the tea 'alice's blend' which was green tea, black tea rose and vanilla!

Dragged my full stomach back to B&B where I met my new 'room mate'. An artist and lovely lady from Portland, Sabina. Who had come to NYC for an art opening of one of her favourite artists (like me!). Sabina is awesome and travels the world to see art and do workshops, total 'when I grow up I wanna be you' inspiration.
This was when my dodgy stomach appeared.
Headed back to Manhattan for a signing of Killjoys comic with Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan. The signing was surprisingly quiet (it was only for an hour though) and I met a lovely young lady named Perri who was doing an internship in NYC. After the signing we ended up going for Bubble Tea and into Chinatown and had some Thai food.
I was so full though I had to come back home and lie down!

Sabina gave me a PG Tips teabag!!!! She said she was drinking Lipton (ugh) a few years back and someone said why you drinking that try this and gave her some PG Tips and now she's hooked and takes them everywhere with her.
I know I had only been out of the UK for like 4 days but that was one of the best cups of tea EVER!
Breakfast was shashunka (sp) which was spicy tomato stuff with an egg in it and some parsley and a wholewheat pitta, a blueberry muffin and cereal. so good!
Had a chat with Matt from the B&B about him touring the UK and our favourite accents, we both agreed Wakefield is up there.
Took the Brooklyn bridge to Manhattan. It was awesome, the weather was really damp and foggy so half the buildings were lost in the sky!

Went back to Chinatown so I could get ice cream from Ice Cream Factory. got a double scoop of mango and lychee.
Then it started raining and I forgot my brolly (Manc girl sin!!!). I also really needed the toilet so went to the first place I could find which was The New museum. Get dry, go to the toilet and see some art, good stuff yeah, or not.
I did not like the gallery, I think modern art as a concept is not for me! I don't know, it was just full of rich old people and art I didn't enjoy and I got stuck in the lift going to all the floors except mine for like 5 minutes! the best thing in there (aside form the toilet) were the John Waters Girls plates in the gift shop!
Tried my luck at Patricia Field again which was open and someone I knew worked there, win win! tret me sen to some awesome socks.
Wandered round some more (walked passed the Whitney just so I could say that line from Pecker!) before going to Guggenheim (which I used a free entry ticket to get in which I got given at my B&B).I didn't have a clue what was on here, but I really enjoyed it.
The building itself was a marvel, walking up w spiralling ramp looking at art til you hit like the 4th/5th floor!
There was a whole host of Italian futurism stuff, but my heart belonged to a photography/video exhibition of work by Carrie Mae Weems. I had never heard of her before, but left feeling proper inspired!
Wandered some more, passed though Central Park (feet super sore and tired at this point) grabbed some pizza and headed back to B&B.

To complete my art day I went to Williamsburg to Cotton Candy Machine to the opening of works by Jessicka Addams, Lindsey Way and Lori Nelson.

This was soooo good! Awesome art, meeting your heroes, buying great stuff, talking to people who are just fans of stuff, such a good nigh and event. And so glad I managed to finally get to Cotton Candy Machine and got to see lot's of Tara McPherson's stuff too!

meeting yr heroes!

Sadly Tara McPherson is being blocked by someone's head!

I was reluctant to leave but had to walk a few blocks down to see Upset!

Upset were supported by Aye Nako and Palehound. I made it in time to catch most of Aye Nako's set (which was great!) and saw Palehound (who were good) but Upset stole the show. Their record, She's Gone has been on my hi fi non stop for months and so I was glad I really got to see most of it played live. Also seeing patty Schemel play, and in a tiny venue NO WORDS!!
Such a good day.

Only two days left and the sun was fully shining!
Breakfast was Kale frittata and peanut butter cookies which I later got told were made with chickpeas WHAT! and some cereal!
After last nights fun I was taking it easy. Before walking to somewhere in Brooklyn for a fleamarket.

It was SO HOT though I hadn't packed for this much heat. Lot's of awesome things at the fleamarket but running low on funds so just get a couple of badges, although I wanted to buy an entire box of trolls!
Pass by the B&B to grab sunglasses and leave jackets behind before making my way to CONEY ISLAND!

I love me some seaside and Coney Island did not disappoint.
As soon as I got there I got myself a bubblegum ice! walked up the pier and on the beach, but left my shoes on as I feared once out of them my blistered feet would not go back in!

Strolled along the boardwalk and tried to get on the Wonder Wheel, only it was shut until the storm passed, she said 15 minutes, then 5 minutes later it chucked it down (it's like Manchester weather, sun rain rain sun!). Luckily it only lasted 10 minutes so did get to go on the Wonder Wheel.

Did some gift shop shopping before grabbing some Popeye's fried chicken and biscuits!

back to B&B to pick up jackets before making my way back up to Williamsburg for the Kara Walker opening at Domino factory. I thought it was open until 8 but got my daps mixed up so had to hot foot it there as it was 6.
I got there in time but they had closed it early as it was too busy NOOOOOOOOOO! and it started to rain and was too windy for a brolly and my feet hurt. Le Sera were playing just down the road (followed later with a second gig in the same place, another Upset show) but my feet hurt I was grumpy and so went back to B&B to eat crisps and biscuits and read and rest and sort out all my stuff.

Last day, so filled up on breakfast, kale and tomato omelette and mini roast potatoes and cereal (I think my massive breakfast meant I hardly ate anything else!) and Sabina gave me another PG Tips to keep me going!
I got dressed and finished packing and left my luggage in the B&B until later.
I went to Brooklyn Botanical gardens, so I could bask in cherry blossoms and walk through bluebells. Super hot and sunny again but forgot my sunglasses, got in for a student price though without even asking.
Cherry blossoms were so good as were the rest of the gardens, aside from the bluebell wood that wasn't in bloom yet :( I think I was like maybe a week early!

Willing the bluebells to bloom right there and then!

I wanted to go to Brooklyn Museum too which is right next to the gardens, but wanted to make it to the Kara walker thing before I had to go to the airport.

I made it to the Domino sugar refinery and there was a big queue, I was panicking but it went super quick! And it was totally worth it the Work was AMAZING!!! I wont talk about it too much here as I will write a whole blog on the art I got to see, but oh my, I am so glad I got to see it.

I had made good time so decided to walk back via the Williamsburg bridge, which was lovely but my feet were not happy.
And then it was time to leave, subway back to the airport. The airport was so busy and confusing and left me no time to souvenir shop (so sorry to those that didn't get any!).
I made my flight though and a great trip back. sat right at the back of the plane between two northern ladies, one from Wigan one from Barnsley. Our shutter didn't work and the lass from Barnsley told the air steward 'we can't shut us window'. I nearly pissed myself, I don't know where the air steward was from but I am 150% sure it wasn't Barnsley, he couldn't understand her. But it didn't matter our cheeky northern charm and his in the air flirtatious ways meant he kept supplying us with wine and lager all flight and let us pick our meals first as by the time they get to the back there isn't any choice (by the way I had Chicken and rice, salad bread roll, crackers, brownie and snack of banana, yoghurt, dried cherries and chocolate muffin). They time flew by (LOL) having cheap laughs with these ladies (one thing I did when in NYC).

And that was that!
Had a blast and I would definitely return to NYC!

If you want to read more about the exhibitions/ art I saw GO HERE!