bethofalltrades: (Default)
2020-12-17 06:36 pm
Entry tags:

ART for free and for sale

Free Art: Comment on the entry with an address (and a story, if you like) and I'll send free art. The only catch is that you can't nominate yourself.

Art for Sale: buy prints or commission something special. (Note that from this point forward, prints and commissions won't be mounted. Also note that if you want surprise prints that are grandma-friendly, you just have to note that in the Paypal comments section. Or if you want extra sexy photos, you can note that too--- I don't know your grandma, maybe she's a wild chick.)

Thank you to everyone who already supports me, by reading this blog, ordering prints, critiquing my work, poking me in the behind with sharp sticks to get me up and CREATING, by sending emails with encouragement and feedback, by sharing art of your own to inspire me.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-27 10:36 pm
Entry tags:

Give it a Name

In Boston, walking home from the Mac store and tea with a friend. Three young black men passed me on Mass Ave and I heard one say, "And it doesn't matter if they call you a faggot. Let them. Keep your head down."

I walked a little faster so I could eavesdrop on their conversation. Nothing in their manner of dress screamed "gay," but there were the slightest societal indicators in their mannerisms. Gestures that said, yes, the one with the braids who was speaking was, and the tall, slightly chubby one he was speaking to certainly was, as was the tough, quiet one who walked just behind them as they argued. They were younger than I was, early college. Maybe high school. Kids.

"No, if they call me a faggot I'm gonna walk with my head up and say, 'So what? I AM gay!'"

"Then they'll jump you."

"Let them jump me! I'm gay, I'm not going to apologize for being gay!"

"Lower your voice."

"No! Look, if they called you a nigger, would you keep your head down?"

There was a long pause. The kid with the braids had no response.

"That's right," the tall one said, adjusting his backpack with a slight swagger of triumph. "No way am I gonna keep my head down."

"But they'll jump you---" the one with the braids began to argue, before the quiet one interrupted, speaking for the first time.

"And if they jump you, they jump a proud gay man. Even if they beat you, you win."

The three of them walked in silence for a moment. I thought about speaking to them, to tell them that I understood, but as we reached the corner the quiet one felt my eyes on him and turned and looked at me.

We stared at each other for a moment, then I ducked my head to him. He smiled and nodded back at me. In that moment, we both understood.

Someone asked me recently why I insist on labels. Why not just love, she said, without regard to the gender of the person? Why be so loud about it? I didn't have an answer until yesterday, in the car with Sean, when I was finally able to articulate that the reason it is important to me to use the label is that people have been fighting, sometimes even dying for it since before I was born.

I give it a name because there are still men who keep their heads down when someone calls them a faggot for fear of violence.

I give it a name because women are being raped and murdered in South Africa for being lesbians.

I give it a name because fifty years ago, no one could.

"And if they jump you, they jump a proud gay man."

Yes. This.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-23 05:45 pm

Kittens, kittens and even more kittens...

I am such a bleeding heart.

There is a calico cat in the neighborhood who has always been very friendly. I assumed she was someone's outdoor (ugh) cat, being that she was so socialized.

Yesterday I stopped to pet her and she was very thin and dirty. I noticed that her nipples were swollen--- she'd had kittens recently.

I went to the store, got some food, and fed her. Sat and petted her for a bit and she looked up and me and the following conversation ensued:

Cat: You're mine and you'll be taking me home with you.
Beth: Um, I already have a cat and my roommates will be pissed if I do that.
Cat: Yeah, that's gonna suck for you, but I don't make the rules.
Beth: I've already promised the spot to someone else.
Cat: Uh, huh. Because three is SO MUCH HARDER than two.
Beth: If I bring you home, your kittens will starve.
Cat: Okay, stall if you want to, but this is inevitable, because you're MINE motherfucker.
Beth: Fuck you, cat, I am NOT bringing you home with me.
Cat: ... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Today when I went to feed her, I found a little orange kitten. His face was dirty and he came right over to me. So, I did what any reasonable person would do.

I put him in my bag and speed-walked home.

I gave him some water and towels and put him in a large box in the bathroom. Then I went back out for mom.

The man living nearby said that he saw four kittens at first, but only the orange one recently. I sat with mom for a while, petting her while she ate. Soon a different man came out of the house and told me I had to leave the property, but that I should take the cat with me.

After all, she was, he said, "just a stray."

I scooped her up and walked as fast as I could. She snarled and tried to bite me. Luckily David was there to open the door and I plunked her into the bathroom with kitten, where the two of them have been for the last half hour.

I am going to go look for the other kittens again, but if they haven't been seen in a week... the streets of Brooklyn are not an easy place for kittens.

For now, here's mom:

And baby (it's a boy):

I need to name them to take them to the vet... any suggestions?

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-23 04:36 am

(no subject)

I often forget that there are people who read my blog who don't read Amanda's.

This is a photo I took at Coachella:

We were at some fancy house in a fancy gated community near the site doing press. It was surreal.

My life is frequently very surreal.

I remember at some point this weekend, and god knows when it was, I looked at Katrina and I said, "Life is pretty amazing."

She agreed.

It is, actually. I saw Leonard Cohen play. He sang First We Take Manhattan and he got to my favorite verse and I cried a little.

I don't like your fashion business mister
I don't like these drugs that keep you thin
I don't like what happened to my sister
First we take Manhattan... then we take Berlin

Those words were written on a scrap of paper and pinned to my bedroom door all through college. I carefully unpinned the paper, which by that point was yellowing around the edges, when I moved. It's in a book somewhere, pressed between the pages to avoid wrinkles. And I got to see and hear the man SING IT LIVE. I closed my eyes and imagined that he knew that I was standing there and really feeling what he said.

I opened them and I was surrounded by a crush of thousands who were feeling it too. We sang the chorus of Hallelujah together.

The man is 74 years old. He spent five years in seclusion in a Buddist monastery. Leonard Cohen is an honest-to-god MONK. He radiated sheer JOY during his performance, joy and incredible grace. Seeing him play was transcendent.

Life is pretty amazing.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-22 08:39 pm

A Design for Killing Amanda Palmer

So the illustrious Mr. Neil Gaiman, author extraordinaire, mentioned me in his recent blog about the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book.

"Anyway, all the material was handed over to some designers, who it turned out hadn't designed books in a while and did a job so bad and so late that when they handed it back, Beth (Amanda's assistant) wound up taking the book and designing it and doing a terrific job, but having to start pretty much from scratch."

I was keeping this under wraps out of... fear I suppose. Everyone knew I was project manager for the book, but when it came down to my designing it, I was afraid of saying too much. That people would know that the man behind the curtain had no idea what he was doing.

I'd done some design work at my old job at The Food Bank For New York City, even co-designing an event journal that was 78 pages long. But to design a fine art book with text by NEIL FREAKIN' GAIMAN? I figured you needed way more skills than I possessed and way more experience than I had.

Fast forward almost three months and the book I designed is being printed.

I worked on this project for nine months. I organized the photos and assisted at shoots and shot and photoshopped and communicated with printers and I laid out all 128 pages of it. There isn't a single element in that book that I didn't plan, tweak or create.

I am so proud of it and so deeply in love with it. This book is incredible and gorgeous and I am so, so honored that when I said, "Amanda, I can do this, let me do this" she said, "Of course you can. Go for it."

The hundreds of hours I spent on this project, the all-nighters, the coffee dates I canceled and the number of times I wanted to pull my hair out and toss the computer out the window... it is all worth it.

Oh, and you can now buy it if you'd like, by clicking here. It has about a dozen stories from Neil, more than about 110 deaths from Amanda, and photos from [ profile] kylecassidy, Gregory Nomoora, Lauren Goldberg, Nicholas Vargelis and yours truly, among others.

My artist photo (as seen on the back dustjacket flap), by KYLE FREAKIN' CASSIDY:

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-12 12:18 am

(no subject)

So. I borrowed a Diana from Amanda, Katrina gave me a Holga and I stole Sean's Polaroid for a few shots.

Solangel by Holga:

Analog is fun. )

If only film and processing wasn't so expensiiiiive. But it's so worth it to have the unpredictability, the delayed gratification and the ART.

Also, I would have shoved Sean's Polaroid down my pants and run off with it if I thought I could have gotten away with it. The sound it makes, the film popping out into your hands, watching it develop... that's as close as we get to magic.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-11 09:24 pm

(no subject)

Direct message to blakeisinalaska: can't respond to your note because your privacy settings are enabled. Email me instead.

Direct messages to everyone else: hi. I'm not dead! And on Wednesday I go to California.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-06 05:23 pm

(no subject)

Epic Art-Out Day #1 was a success. I love analog.

Read more... )

I will probably do this again, with more advance notice. Next weekend is Easter and the following is Coachella, so it would likely be May before I get around to it. I would probably stick with film... I love the way it looks. Processing is expensive ($7 a roll, $10 for the HOLGA that Katrina gave me) so may have to limit how often I do it, but there is something so rad about analog.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-04 11:04 pm

(no subject)

Feeling crazy the past week or so. Anti-social, short-tempered, generally nuts.

Antidote: do something crazy. Stimulate the little-used art muscles with a jolt of electricity.

I will be in Union Square tomorrow (Sunday the 5th) at 1PM. I will be standing in front of the statue with a 35mm camera.

If you bring a roll of film, I will take your picture.

Look like yourself, look like someone else, look like yourself only MORE. Paint your face, wear a wig, wear a costume--- or don't.

Dress up and then show up.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-04-02 06:46 am

(no subject)

Today is a roller coaster.

I have four blogs trying to claw their way to the surface but it is six AM and I am tired and my pinky finger is starting to spasm. It's because of the way I hold it when I blackberry.

It is too late to be coherent.

I told a friend tonight that, no, we cannot continue our discourse on sexuality because my brain cannot take it. We can, however, talk about the Indigo Girls.

My brain gets used up. I joke that my memory gets full and jettisons things I don't need. My close friends know that they can tell me a story two or three times and I'll laugh every time like it's the first. Friends who are less close get annoyed when I don't remember stories they've told me, or experiences we've had together.

An assistant with a bad memory. Hilarious.

Except I have systems, tons of them, and when something is VERY important I make it imprint or I cheat with blackberry alarms and napkin notes.

And then there are things that imprint with no work and never go away.

Almost all of these things involve women.

Occasionally these things involve kissing women.

Frequently these things involve wanting to kiss women.


Tonight I read a line in one of my own blogs that I (of course) do not remember writing:
"I am about as slick as a t-rex in a shopping mall.

I love that line.

It's true.


Another line I love, from an almost-poem:

"I grabbed madly for the girl with the almost key
Instead of the one with the lock."

It's obviously about the pain two bottoms feel when they find themselves alone together, and naked. It's that sort of, "Well, fuck, what do we do now?"

The answer, I have found, is usually "watch tv."


I have a folder in my email program called "God and All The Angels." You should ask me about it some time. It's a good story. No, not right now. Now it's six a.m. and I'm a better storyteller before the sun comes up.


In the course of a year, I send and receive more than 36,000 emails. This is totally insane. NOTHING is that important.

But I love communicating.


I love my life, actually.

The sun is up.

It's April.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-31 12:57 am

(no subject)

I had a dream about my ex girlfriend last night. We passed each other in an office hallway as if we didn't know each other. I turned and held out my arms and she turned and saw and walked back to me.

She has no internet presence. No MySpace, no blog, no twitter, no Facebook, no Friendster, no LJ. Evidence of my current life and loves is all over the net but she's a virtual ghost.

We were always different in that way. I am an open book. She demanded privacy. Two ends of the spectrum, both strange in our extremes.

But now we haven't spoken in a year and a half and she's not holding up her end of the arrangement. She can view my triumphs and setbacks from a safe distance but if I want to know about her life, this woman who I shared the darkest parts of me with, I have to call.

I'm not going to call.

We have been apart longer than we were together. She moved on before the ashes were cold, leaving me railing and frothing about Staten Island gym teachers. She might be a half dozen women past that one by now. I don't know.

I am still sad about it. I don't want her back. I don't want to hit her or poison her dog or key her car. I don't want to ask why, because the why is simple: sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes what you are feeling and what the other person is feeling are different.

Sometimes you can make yourself into what the other person seems to want only to find that she liked what you were before better.

I was a child in that relationship. I let her dictate the rules and the boundaries. She wanted someone she could mold and teach. She needed to be smarter and wiser and more worldly. She needed to be more balanced. She wanted an urban-trendy professional girlfriend so I bought gold slip on sneakers and wore khakis and blazers.

I am wearing a blazer today, but it's over a Battle Circus t-shirt. I pitched the sneakers for Doc Martens. Tattoos-- which she didn't like on me, she said-- have been revealing themselves on my arms like bruises and I love them because I finally feel real.

I say that no one dies. I calm my inner spastic freak-out princess. I breathe. I open my heart to as my people as I can stuff in it, I open my home to most who ask, I go to yoga when I'm not being lazy and I don't shower every day anymore. My ex showered twice a day most of the time and I got in the habit too, but honestly? I like being dirty sometimes.

In the dream, when I held out my arms, I saw the tattoos and wondered if she would still know me. Not recognize me. Know me.

I don't think she does. No matter how much of myself I toss out into the internet, no matter if she sees every photo of me flashing my panties at the merch table, no matter if she reads this blog, that girl doesn't know me any more.

I don't know her anymore either.

I don't think I want to.

But I want to know ABOUT her.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-27 12:30 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Here is a photo I took at SWSW. On the left is Emily, Amanda's manager. I'm in the middle. You all by now know the lady with the ukulele.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-26 10:13 pm

(no subject)

This is really beautiful.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-25 06:30 pm

(no subject)

My new favorite person is Jay, who runs sound at One-Eyed Jack's in New Orleans. He found my camera in the venue.

Yay, Jay!

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-24 09:40 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

So tour happened. Five days in Austin for SXSW, two nights with a day in between in Houston and two days and two nights in New Orleans.

The night we drove to Houston I had so many brilliant ideas in the quiet after Amanda fell asleep, but I was driving and couldn't blog. Better probably. I had an incredible moment as I drove past miles and miles of flat lands and scrub in silence: silence does not exist in my life. My brain went in to hyperdrive almost as soon as we were out of town, flashing random thoughts and going on epic tangents and spinning itself in circles. It was uncomfortable. But then, 20 miles in to the silence, it stilled and opened. I felt like a human being again.

I think more silence in my life is called for. I was surprised at how fast and hard the neurons started firing as soon as the quiet settled in. They'd been built up a long time and as soon as they had room they went nuts. My brain is a mouse that lives in a cage the size of your hand. It escapes into the middle of a field and runs in circles. It goes nuts from the expanse of freedom and the lack of noise.

Amanda says she doesn't want to be a human camera, documenting every moment of life. I'm a little guilty of that... blog, Twitter, the ever-present camera.

Except the camera is no longer ever-present. I lost it in the venue in New Orleans. The camera, two lenses and an 8 gig memory card half full of shots from Austin.

Maybe that's life's way of pointing out to me that I shouldn't always view the world through the safe confines of a viewfinder. Put the camera down, Beth. Oh, wait, you won't? Then I'll put it down for you.

I'm sad. Eventually I'll scrape together the money to replace the camera, but the photos that were lost... some were really beautiful.

During my angsty college years, I listened to the Rent soundtrack over and over. There was one particular line that always panged and dug deep into my torso:

Why am I the witness-- and when I capture it on film, will it mean that it's the end and I'm alone?

I am, for the first time in six years, without camera.

I am a camera.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-18 03:18 am

(no subject)

I am in a hotel suite in Austin, sleeping on my boss's pull-out couch.

Today I went to breakfast with beautiful people, and then I went to the mall with other beautiful people, and then those same beautiful people and I went to the WORLD'S BIGGEST LIQUOR STORE where I bought wine called "The Innocent" (white) and "The Guilty" (red). And then I went to the show of the first set of beautiful people and it was wonderful and there were many women in scintillating outfits and one pair of bare tits. And then we all ate guacamole, except for the owner of the tits, who was not invited. And then I went back to where I was staying and Amanda was there and suddenly I MISSED her, even though she was right there.

And now she is in the next room, tucked soundly into bed. This makes me happy.

Tomorrow starts an epic three days. Expect Tweets, but likely no blogs.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-12 03:33 am

(no subject)

My mother says, why don't you post, you had such an interesting weekend. I blinked into the darkness of my room and asked, "Why do you say that? What did I do?"

I honestly could not remember what I did four days ago.

I saw Margaret Cho in New Jersey with Amanda's manager Emily and her interns Kristan and Katrina (yes, the same Katrina who accompanies me on bagel adventures.) That was good. Em rented the car and I drove and on the way we talked mostly about work. Said hello to Margaret afterward, and met Ian Harvie and Selene Luna, both of whom are hilarious and friendly. Wore a vest and a jacket and jeans and looked the gayest I've ever looked. Wore my glasses and looked like my mother.

The night before that I met Olga at the airport, where she had a seven hour layover after having been refused entry to the UK. She'd been traveling for more than 30 hours. I took her to a diner and we talked about life.

A few hours before that I saw the umbrella girl. She sat on my couch and we ate chinese food and I was not the least bit breathless.

Two days after I saw the umbrella girl I hung around Books of Wonder to hug Neil Gaiman. His father had just died and he signed for seven hours anyway. I met his assistant Kat who is pretty much who I want to be in ((insert inoffensive number of years.)) We compared key tattoos. She has fantastic style. So I hung about and ran into Nathen and chatted and eventually everyone left and I hugged Neil and then I left.

KT and I went to a bar where you get free pizza with every beer and I had three after little sleep and got confessional, like I do, and inquisitive, like I do. She paid for the cab ride home and most of the beer. We hugged a lot.

I live in the same house with her and yet sometimes the distance is broad. I am so caught up in my work that I forget that there is life beyond it. And then Neil Gaiman's father dies and I hover around the edges of a book signing and I remember: oh. Humans. Be human.

I talked to Dakota about my lack of crushes. I bemoaned it. I told her that I am not FEELING and I want to be FEELING and God bless her she did not remind me that the last time I was FEELING I nearly destroyed my career by drinking too much and being dramatic.

Tomorrow I am going with Katrina on an adventure--- she is getting a tattoo from Joy, who did my nemo perit and touched up my key. Friday I'll be in Boston. Saturday I'm back in New York for a celebration of David's birthday. Sunday we're celebrating KT's. Monday I get on a plane to Austin, TX.

I am still struggling with balance.

I tried to do a handstand tonight and could only get one foot off the ground at a time. I think there's a metaphor there. Fear is the lead weight in my heels.

I keep dreaming about fire. In one dream, I burned papers down to my hands until they blistered. In another I crashed a car and it went up in flames, then ran into a nearby building that caught fire spontaneously too. My companion in the dream pleaded with me to make things okay and I held up my hands-- both completely engulfed. Last night it was a plane on fire.

I have been doing truly shitful tarot readings recently. I counted the cards and there were only 77. The eight of cups is AWOL. I'll replace the deck tomorrow. It's good to have a reason for repeatedly missing the mark.

Life is strange. Beautiful too, but strange.

It's worth mentioning that a good woman died three nights ago. Her name was Jennifer and I didn't know her very well, but she was an important member of the Dolls/AFP community. She encouraged young artists. She provided support and feedback and love. There are a lot of people missing her now.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-06 02:52 am

(no subject)

At 2AM on a thursday I stood at one end of a subway platform. Off in the distance I heard a few familiar chords.

I walked toward them. Halfway down, I found a four piece band playing "Free Fallin'.". Guitar, drums, upright bass and accordian, all down there on the platform.

A middle-aged man in a yarmulka swayed gently to the music. A punk with a guitar strapped to his back played along on nothing but air. Two women came up and danced in front of the band. The accordian player laughed and cheered them on.

People on the platform across from us stopped to watch. The chorus came and the punk started singing. The women joined in almost instantly, followed by a well-dressed couple and a few stray, oddly-engaged hipsters. Moments later, a smile breaking across his face, the Jewish fellow's tentative baritone came in.

Followed momentarily by me.

"And I'm freeeeeeee... Free fallin'."

For a minute I had the New York City of hero movies... or, at least, I saw it. I must remember it is there all the time.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-05 10:29 pm

(no subject)

"I guess I'm still waiting for someone to wake me up. I'll be over her when someone new takes the space she occupied."

"I think its the same way for me," she said, and I was surprised that my heart made no suggestion that we wake up to each other.

She sat on my couch and we ate chinese food and the cat buried her face in the umbrella girl's sweater.

"She goes from being like 'don't touch me' spastic to 'I LOVVVVVE YOU.' She's so inconsistent," she said as the cat flopped over, purring loudly.

"She and I are a lot alike," I said.



"I was going to say "'But she does it out of fear.'"

She sat on my couch and I searched my guts for an echo of last November's madness.

Nothing. No clothes rending, no heart wrenching. Only an ego still barely bruised, the deep purples of last fall barely a yellow shadow this March night, and easy conversation with a friend.

So. What's next?

bethofalltrades: (Default)
2009-03-03 05:50 am

(no subject)

If I missed you, I would email.

I only miss the way you made me feel, so I blog.