A week on the mosquito coast.

July 12th, 2009 → Leave a comment


My legs look straight out of a medical textbook.

This week was long and went by fast. I definitely had a moment mid-week where I was homesick for Los Angeles. (What?!) There’s a reason why people who move from out of state to Los Angeles go on and on about “how great the LA weather is.” With the absence of seasons in Los Angeles also comes the wonderful absence of mosquitos. I am reminded quickly that in every other city in the world must deal with the reality of flesh eating bugs.

This week was rough on me, I couldn’t sleep a couple nights because I was so bitten. I’d wake up at 4am, rub any and all of the offerings at CVS for bug bites, pass out, and wake up again to itching. I have also not been able to get the exercise I normally get in LA because there are so many bugs out here it’s a whole process of spraying intense amounts of deet on and still getting bit when you walk out.

In this week alone, my legs have provided the sustenence to singlehandedly double the population of NO-SEE-UMs here at New Smyrna Beach (see photo above).


On Tuesday, a beekeeper came by and talked to us about honeybees. There’s a hive here at the residency. It’s quite fascinating. Honeybees are dying out! Pesticides is one reason. Also, people aren’t getting into the beekeeping profession the way they used to. Though there is a resurgence of independent beekeepers. There are hobbyist beekeepers who have bee colonies on their rooftops in New York City.

He gave us plastic spoons to take bites of pure honey in the honeycomb. It was so delicious.

The story of the honey bees is perhaps an allegory for migration, greed, and working together. But I couldn’t tell you why. Too complicated for this blog.


After his talk we went over to the hives at the ACA compound but unfortunately, there were no bees there because some beetles who are not native to Florida had eaten all the bee larvae.

It was kind of anti-climatic to come out after his lecture and look at empty and deserted honeycombs.

He was talking more about how bad pesticides were for the bees and at that moment the No-see-ums were totally feasting on my thighs, I wanted to squirt down with bug spray right then but felt the moment wasn’t appropriate because he was going on and on about how bad chemicals are. As a result, I ended up with very itchy, very hot swollen and bug eaten legs.


This is New Smyrna Beach. The big deal with the beaches from here to Daytona is you can drive your car right on the sand. For some reason the sand is wet and packed flat which keeps the cars from sinking in. The flat wet sand is annoying to put your blanket on because the towel gets wet fast, and when you pick up your blanket to go home, there’s algae growing under there! The joys of moisture.


My fancy lady artists friends hit the beach.


On Tuesday, we cancelled the workshop to watch MJ’s memorial. It was pretty surreal that the entire country/world was focused on this ceremony. I found the whole thing pretty fascinating. Talk about your use of euphemisms and generous verbal editing!

We were all in tears when Paris Jackson, the daughter so shielded from the press, took the mic, and screamed how much she would miss her father. It was real. Three children who now don’t have parents. I found it so ironic that all her family could do was coach her into the mic and groom her hair. Showbiz family instincts.

When it was over, I asked aloud, “So can we go back to the American past time of ridiculing famous people until they die unexpectedly and then we feel bad and miss them?”


My new favorite artist is ACA Associate Artist-in-Residence Brian Feldman who perhaps is Orlando’s answer to “What else you got besides Disney World? And for cheap?”

Brian does endurance and site-specific performance. Stuff I wish I could do more of. As it is, doing the stuff that you can charge people tickets for is a stressful enough way to make a living. So there’s only so much 24 hour ladder jumping or 8 hour newspaper reading that I can imagine doing before I am thrown in complete financial peril. My hats off to the artists like Brian who execute every crazy and brilliant idea that comes to them.

He owns a portable marquee which is so smart for what he does. An instant theater in every space! Even a bedroom!


His show was a site-specific cabaret called “Under the Covers.” Basically, he sang songs by request with a live accompanist all from underneath his blankets. It came from a dream he had the first night he was here and genius that he is, he turned it into real life. I was in awe and hysterics the entire time and told him that when he comes to LA, he is welcome to perform in my bedroom!!! (Shut up you wiseguys!)


Eli is son of Master artist Carol Kim. He is 5 years old and announced at lunch that he was holding a robot drawing contest at dinner and that there would be a prize for the first and second best drawings. It was so charming and probably the first time we had been galvanized as a whole to produce creative work on the fly. He produced and juried the competition. We found ourselves all drawing robots. It was so seemingly low pressure but I was struck with the need to win. I snuck glances at everyone else’s drawing to borrow robot features I might have forgotten.


This is Eli on the left and Chris (the winner) on the right. The prize was a “crane/blaster” made of plastic tape, paper, and plastic knives.


My drawing is on the right. I tried to pull Eli’s heartstrings by naming the robot after him (the “Eli-tron 2000″) and I presented the only 2-headed robot. In one hand, ice cream! In the other, a $100 bill. But the kid was not bribed nor swayed by my amazing drawing. I didn’t place.

Last night we went down to Daytona Beach which can best be described to Miami what Jersey is to New York City. We’re going again tonight. White trash anthropology at its finest.

Category: artist life., road wong

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