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My October Calendar Of Events

It's not quite October yet, but I finally solidified my October calendar of events:

Freret Market
Saturday, October 3, 12pm - 5pm
Freret Street near Napoleon Avenue

Elysian Fleas
Sunday, October 11th, 11am-5pm
527 Elysian Fields on the corner of Chartres St.

3rd Thursdays On Oak Street
Thursday, October 15th, 5pm-8pm
8200 Block of Oak Street (at Carrollton)

Ray Nagin Coloring Book Launch Party & Art Show
Friday, October 16th, 7pm-9pm
Fairgrinds (3133 Ponce de Leon)

4th Annual Faubourg Marigny Walking Tour & Art Market

Sunday, October 18th, 10am-4pm
Washington Square Park (Royal @ Frenchman)

Miss Malaprop Trunk Show
Wednesday, October 21st, 7-9pm
contact: Miss Malaprop for details

Looks like it's starting to get really busy!!!

Two Obama Books Are Out & Another Is On The Way!

The day before yesterday, I finally received in the mail two of the Obama art movement books that are hitting the market this fall, thanks to my wonderful girlfriend who had pre-ordered them both as birthday presents for me when I found out about them several months ago. I knew for sure I was going to be in the Art For Obama book, as it was themed around the Manifest Hope:DC show I participated in last January during the inauguration, but I wasn't 100% sure I was going to be in the Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints.

Well as it turns out, I am in both. I took more crappy cell phone pics of the pages I'm on and posted them to my Flickr account, if you're curious to see. The Art For Obama book has a small pic of my stencil canvas that was in the show, while the poster book has one of my original stencil prints of the "Believe" design, in blue, and a small bio paragraph. I feel honored to be in both of them, and so elated to have that shining moment of my creative life immortalized in not just one but two books!

And as if that isn't enough to be excited about, the third book that I mentioned in the above-cited previous blog post, Designing Obama, is getting a lot of publicity right now via its Kickstarter project page. Kickstarter is a fundraising site for creative projects and ideas; it's genius, really, and has already in its infancy helped a lot of really amazing projects find funding. Scott Thomas, who was the Design Director of the Obama Campaign, put together this amazing 360 page book chronicling the art and design of Obama's historic campaign. But he is self-publishing it, and therefore needs to raise the money to get it printed up front. So far he has 483 backers pledging $30,859, but he's got to get to $65K by November 5th for the project to be fully funded. Help him reach his goal by making a donation or passing around his Kickstarter URL to others who may be interested in supporting this project. I'd love to see this beautiful book get published, not just because I'm in it but because it seems the most comprehensive and in-depth look at the grassroots art and design movement that helped Barack get elected.

I'm sure many of you are tired of hearing me talk about the Obama art movement and my contributions to it, but for me, not only was it a year of my life where I felt fully engaged in the world, my country, and politics in a way that I've never felt before, but also it was an amazing example to me of the power of the internet, and of the grassroots, to effect change in a really concrete and creative way. And, as an artist, it showed me the power of using my creativity in combination with my communication skills (PR, social networking, publicity, etc.) to a very successful end.

I'm really thankful these books have been published, as a reminder of all that and of the excitement and feeling of hope and possibility that permeated that timeframe. And as I look at my life and the reality of all our lives now, nearly a year after the election, I can't help but wonder, what happened? Why have we become complacent again so quickly? Obama's work has barely begun, and, well, he's been a little sidetracked what with the economy on the brink of utter failure and all. Why have so many given up hope already, become cynical and unengaged again? We - and yes, I'm including myself here as well - need to recapture that spirit and desire again and apply it to the issues at hand now: health care, the environment, the economy, the war in Afghanistan, etc. We shouldn't need someone like Yosi Sergant - masterful as he is at organizing and orchestrating - to get us off our butts to make things happen in our own communities, or even on a regional or national level. We have the tools and the creativity, we know how to make things happen. So lets do it!

For my part and on a local basis, I'll be helping out my friend Karen Ocker with her Ray Nagin Coloring Book launch party and art show, and contributing a piece to the show that will riff on the last page of the book, about our future mayor. Currently there's only three candidates who've declared their intentions to run for mayor in February's election, and so far, I have to say that James Perry seems to be saying all the right things and sounds like the kind of mayor I want. I've yet to meet him or even hear him speak, but my gut is telling me he's the guy. So for now, unless someone else much more impressive enters the race, I'll be putting my efforts in his direction, and will hopefully come up with something brilliant for the aforementioned art show themed around him. Stay tuned!

Last Weekend Recap + Next Market

First, before anything else, I want to thank everyone who came out to the Handmade Nation event last Friday night at Delgado Community College. We had a packed house - 200+ attendees and vendors - and it was really fun. The film was, of course, wonderful: so affirming and inspirational for those of us who live the handmade life. It was so cool to see my life up on the screen, and to put faces to the names of so many of the key players in the handmade/DIY/crafty community. Filmmaker Faythe Levine was a sweetie, too, so down to earth. (That's her in the pic there, doing a Q&A after the film.) I'm glad I got a chance to hang out with her a bit on Thursday, as some of the members of the New Orleans Craft Mafia and I took her to lunch at Juan's, to the 3rd Thursday block party on Oak Street, and had some drinks at the Half Moon before she did an interview with NOCM's Heather Macfarlane on WWOZ that night.

I also had my debut at the Bywater Art Market last Saturday, which was a mixed bag. Not only was it hot as hell that day - one of those typical steamy-humid, sunny summer days in New Orleans - but it also rained for like 20 minutes at the very beginning of the market, just enough to get everything in my booth wet. And I was situated in a swampy area of Markey Park to begin with, so the rain didn't help matters much. But aside from that, it was an OK day and I'm pretty sure I'll be continuing on with that market through the holiday season. It's a slog, though! They really should consider starting that market later in the day, as no one comes at 9am; I don't think I even had any customers until 11am or noon.

My next market appearance will be on October 3rd at the big 2-year anniversary Freret Market block party. Instead of closing off Freret Street like they have in the past, they are instead wrapping the market through the parking lot and down Jena Street to Robertson. And they are teaming up with the first ever New Orleans Coffee Festival! There will be two stages of free, live music - one in the usual parking lot space and the other at the other end down Jena Street - plus 115-120 art/craft/food/flea vendors. Hopefully it won't rain like last time! You know, of all the markets and festivals I do on a regular basis, I think Freret is my favorite one; it just has an easy-going, laid-back vibe to it that makes it more "fun" than the other markets that are solely focused on shopping. So put it on your calendar now and come on out and spend some time with us!

Stay tuned for more info about what I've got lined up in October.

So Much Going On...

It's hard to figure out where to start in the "update" department, as there's so much going on. Meanwhile, I've been feeling rather poorly so I haven't really managed to get much done. But the world keeps moving without me, so here's the lowdown.

First, it's going to be a busy weekend for me. On Friday, I will be hawking some of my wares at the FREE screening of the film Handmade Nation that the New Orleans Craft Mafia is co-sponsoring with the Irma Thomas Center For W.I.S.E. (Women In Search Of Excellence) Women at Delgado Community College. The event runs from 6-9pm in the Lac Maurepas Room on the 2nd floor of the Student Life Center, which is in the back part of Delgado's City Park campus, off Navarre Avenue. There's ample free parking available, and we'll have free popcorn and sodas as refreshments. Along with several members of the NOCM, myself included, there will also be members of NoLa Rising, Handmade Louisiana, the LA Crafts Guild, LA Artworks, and Krewe Do Craft also selling their DIY wares. We got a great little write-up in the Gambit this week, and we've been passing out flyers and blanketing the internet with info, so I think it will be an awesome event.

Then, on Saturday, I will be making my Bywater Art Market debut! The Bywater Art Market is the original neighborhood art market, having begun back in 2002, well before the post-Katrina explosion of art/craft/flea/farmer's markets in this city. Some say it is in decline due to all the competition around town, but I still think of it as the most prestigious and hard to get into, so I'm particularly excited to have been accepted. I'm a little nervous about the weather - right now it says 40% chance of rain for Saturday on - but I guess I survived the deluge at Freret earlier this month, so I can do it again if necessary. But cross your fingers for me, OK?

Let's see, what else is going on?

I just found out yesterday that I got accepted to participate in Craftland again! It's my fifth or sixth year - I can't remember which, they are on their seventh - and I always do really well up there in Providence. I wish I could afford to make it up there one of these years for the opening, but the timing is always so bad. It's right in the middle of the busiest weeks of the holiday shopping scramble, a week or so after my sweetie's birthday, and this year, only a few weeks after we take a big trip. (Fae and I will be covering the inaugural Western Caribbean cruise from lesbian travel company Sweet for Curve Magazine!) But regardless, I'm honored to be selected to showcase my wares there and I hope to devote a little more time to preparing for it that I have in the last few years.

The other big thing on the horizon that I've been working on is my submission to the Ray Nagin Coloring Book art show. My friend Karen Ocker illustrated this clever coloring book which brings to life the, shall we say, imaginative words of our current but outgoing mayor, C. Ray Nagin. Folks all across America are familiar with his "chocolate city" quote, but some of the ones Karen chose for this book are even more out there! Some I'd never even heard before. And her illustrations are witty and fun. So, along with the book release party - Friday October 16th from 7-9pm at Fairgrinds (put it in your calendar now!) - there will also be an art show of works inspired by the coloring book and in my opinion well-timed for our mayoral campaign season. I'm still scheming on what my piece will be, but I'll be riffing off the last page of the book which deals with our future mayor. Bookmark the website, save the date, and I'm sure you'll hear more from me about it as the time draws nearer.

OK, I think that'll do for now. Gotta get back to makin' the art and feeling better. Hope to see some of y'all out and about this weekend!

It's Market Time Again!

With fall just around the corner, I'm getting back into the swing of things again. This weekend I'll be at the Freret Market, from noon - 5pm. This market has become my regular monthly appearance and I love doing it. I love the mix of food, art/craft, and flea market items, and the food vendors are hands-down always the best of any market in town. Plus there's Abita beer! And free live music! And cute puppies and kittens up for adoption! And rollergirls! What more could you ask for? So join me on Saturday; it's always a good time.

Next on my September calendar is the New Orleans Craft Mafia's "Handmade Nation" film screening and indie craft market, on Friday September 18th from 6-9pm. "Handmade Nation" is an indie film about the indie craft movement and the rise of DIY, art, craft and design. I've been hearing and reading about it for years now, and the NOCM has been scheming on ways to bring it here for months. We finally found a generous partner in the Irma Thomas Center for W.I.S.E. (Women In Search of Excellence) Women at Delgado Community College, who is graciously hosting the film screening, craft market, and a Q&A with filmmaker Faythe Levine following the film, in the Lac Maurepas Room in Delgado's Student Life Building. It's gonna be amazing, and we're so happy to be able to co-sponsor this event. For all the details, you can read about it on the New Orleans Craft Mafia's blog.

The next day, I'll be debuting at the Bywater Art Market! After years of being scared I wouldn't be juried into the notoriously selective market, I went ahead and applied and guess what? They accepted me! So I'll be testing it out on the 19th, from 9am - 4pm in Markey Park in the Bywater, Piety at Royal. I'm excited!

There will be lots more on tap for October, so check back in often for updates and more events. Hope to see y'all out and about!

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