Monday, July 23, 2007

First Day Teaching

These are before and after classroom photos of my first day teaching. I’m teaching beginning Drawing for 6-8 year olds through the Continuing Education department at KCAI. Had a good first day, now all I gotta do is think up a bunch more assignments and projects to do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Everybody Blog About Museums

Art Museum of Western Virginia

Thought I’d stop by and check out the progress on the new building that will open in 2008. At first I was pretty turned off by the curvy design but remembering that this site was originally a parking lot helps me keep a good perspective. Let’s just hope they get more funding, a new curator and better art.

For more info check out

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Virgina Tech 3 months later

It’s summer in Blacksburg and that means few students and lots of townies. Having been a former townie I was left speechless after the shootings on April 16, 2007 left 32 dead. I realize that shootings like this can happen anywhere but never expected this to happen in Blacksburg.

I visited the drill field in the center of campus and found an intermediate memorial being constructed by some students. Stones are to be placed with the names of all 32 killed (see first two photos). The memorial that immediately followed the shooting was moved into Schultz dinning hall until the end of July (the remainder of the photos).

My mother wanted me to get her a “We Are Virginia Tech” T-shirt, for which the money goes into the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund which set up 34 funds of which 32 are for each victim and one scholarship fund. But it seems that sense exceeding the goal Virginia Tech has stopped producing the T-shirts. The day I drove into town they had named Kenneth R. Feinberg who distributed funds from the 9/11 victims compensation fund to distribute the funds.

Being here now and having discussed the shootings with friends it seems that everyone has a story or knew one of the individuals that died. I just hope that this brings more attention on mental disorders and helping people overcome them.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday Night Jamboree

The Friday Night Jamboree
At The Floyd Country Store in Floyd, VA

One of the few places I take pride in calling home is Floyd, Virginia. For many years I rejected my hometown for it’s one stoplight, rednecks, and hippies but as I get older I find myself enjoying its beauty and subtleties. It has remained unchanged for the past 100 years due to no major railroads and interstates running through it. So when I heard the Floyd Country Store was being remodeled I expected the worst. But this past Friday the 13th I spent watching people flat-footing. The store is much bigger and is actually functioning as a store again. There are now barrels of candy and all kinds of Floyd memorabilia. It’s pick as being a musical landmark as part of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail as helped to revitalize tourism and growth.

My favorite part of the Jamboree is the people. I love to bring my female friends to the jamboree so the skinny man in all black will ask them to dance. My favorite character there is an old man named Leo (though he also told me his name was Ivory). He has huge sideburns and lots of excitement to dance. In Henry Miller’s The Air Conditioned Nightmare he said that the south was the last place you could find real characters, and I agree.

For more info go to

County Sales

If you’re interested in Old-time and Bluegrass music the best source I’ve found is County Sales in Floyd, Virginia. Started in 1965 it houses the largest selection of Old-time and bluegrass music in the country. A friend in Blacksburg told me about this record store and having lived in Floyd for ten years I had never even noticed it. Though it is down in alley and in a basement. Mike Gangloff of Pelt, Mikel Dimmick Spiral Joy band, and the Black Twigg pickers recommended these titles to me below and I loved them.

Edden Hammons The Edden Hammons Collection Volume One from West Virginia University

Tommy Jarrell "Sail Away Laidies" from County Records

High Atmosphere Recording from Virginia and North Carlina recorded by Jem Cohen in 1965

For more info go to and for info Mike Gangloff go to

Monday, July 09, 2007

What's a Museum?

Rethinking and Redoing Museums,

For a month I and 8 other students took Rethinking and Redoing the Museum with the artist Filip Noterdaeme, who is the director of the Homeless Museum (HOMU in BKLYN). We visited 8 museums and 2 galleries (which you can read about if you scroll down). We listened to the postmodern critique of museums and the museum establishment everyday from 1-5. I also spent my nights listening to Rush Rankin talk about how to make Formalist art in my Writing and Thinking class. Rush’s argument won out. At times Filip talked too much. At times I wasn’t paying attention, or tuned out. Filip lives and breaths his museum and it took him awhile to let go of his model and let us create are own. That said it was a great experience and a great group of people I got the opportunity to work with.

My opinion hasn’t changed on museums:

They need more space for art, and need to showcase animation, performance and more contemporary art.

For more on Fiip Noterdaeme go to