living it up like a non-profit britney spears
June 30th, 2009 → 1 Comment
Here’s a quick tour of my new Silverlake home as seen through the eyes of Oliver. Check out Oliver’s sexy gold collar which I hope will keep him from getting misplaced among the raccoons of Silverlake (and by “raccoons,” I don’t mean the hipsters).
The new view from my home office overlooking the hills of Silverlake and a glimpse of the big giant deck. The days go by a little slower and the sunlight from three windows has been so much better for my health. And now when the sun goes down and not enough work gets done, I only bawl like a crazy person, not like a maniac.
The bathtub in the bathroom. There is a separate shower and bathtub! Note that the duffel bag filled with my setpieces is stored in the bathtub. I have about 1/3 the closet space I did before.
The full kitchen and a shot of Oliver’s cornhole. For some reason, there’s more storage in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house, so my old journals and pictures are stashed in the cupboards.
The separate craft area! I previously did crafts on top of my computer table and loose threads and buttons would mix themselves into my paperwork. Finally! A hobby station where I can sew my own costumes and props! Also, check out my new sewing machine which I will have to own for the rest of my life because it cost an Indiana mortgage payment! A limited edition Project Runway Brother sewing machine!
Before I got Oliver out of West LA he was spraying repeatedly in the bed, in my luggage, It was my cat lady swan song.
I thought for half a second of leaving him behind… I was prepared to flip the mattress and wash the sheets again and again in Silverlake. I bought cat pheremones to spray in the house which supposedly calm a cat down (because it makes them think they already sprayed there… yes… lovely). I bought white vinegar to neutralize the smell. I even arranged to have the cat psychic talk to Oliver (through me) to prep him for the move (she was on vacay and couldn’t do an appointment…).
But he’s totally gotten into our new Silverlake digs. He’s chilled out and mellow. And as far as I can SMELL, no accidents. Perhaps in hipsterville, my cat lady days are numbered?
It was kind of a wonderful thing to see Oliver leave West LA for the first time in his whole life. I put him in a mesh laundry hamper and sat in the backseat with him as my cousin drove us down the freeway towards Silverlake. Watching Oliver react to all these new things must have been how that woman in Austria felt when she and her kids were released from their basement dungeon her father put them in (minus the incest and having seven kids by her father and living with no natural sunlight in absolute hell for 25 years). Oliver was scared, but also very curious of the freeway and of his new home, of trees (not just West LA palm trees, which I guess count as trees) and the sounds of birds, of sunlight streaming in. I finally live in a home that I’m not embarassed to have guests over at. Even with the truckloads of boxes still in the living room, I feel I can still show people the place.
I write you now from the Atlantic Center for the Arts where I am on a three week artist residency. This residency lands me as last year’s did– off the coast of Florida, this time on the EAST Coast. The bugs haven’t been as cruel as they were last summer. And rather than drink myself into a stupor as the only artist-in-residence, there are about 27 people here who can join me in “drunkeness-as-artistic-process.” It’s quite amazing. Unfortunately, I have a grant application to finish up the first few days that I am here, but after that, I can tear back into the projects that I’ve neglected in this move. Including “Cat Lady”– the new show that I just got a MAPFUND grant to work on!
The view from my cottage. It’s a jungle out there filled with bugs, birds, and lizards. I exclaimed last night, “Wow! It sounds just like the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland!”
One thing I’ve noticed, the artists here are all very young. I’ve grown accustomed to feeling like the youngest person in the room in other settings, but some of these folks look like they just finished their undergrad. I hear over and over again that studies have found a lot of practicing artists stop making work past 40. Is the demographic here indicative of that truth?
My unmade bed.
I’m wondering why I’ve not applied sooner to be here. This place is amazing. We get 24 hour access to studios and libraries, our own cottages with bathroom, we get fed, and we’re not obligated to produce any final work, just be artists and soak in the process of being around other artists and doing our work.
I think of Oliver and our new home. I see myself here given full permission to create work, and I wonder how it was I went so long in my 20s living in such abject post college conditions.
I toast to the steamy sundown here in Florida with cheap booze in my hands, sticky with sweat and bug spray. I still have to raise a ton of money to get Cat Lady (the new show) made and have yet to piece together enough touring shows in 2009 to make a living wage… but yes! Here I am in Florida! Treated like royalty? Well more like a summer camp for artists…. but good enough!
Finally, I get to live up my life as a non-profit Britney Spears. Kristina Wong, you have arrived.