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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 06:36pm on 17/12/2020 under
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.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 12:18am on 12/04/2009 under , ,
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.

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For those of you who think this is totally tl;dr, here are a few bullet points:

1.) If you sent me a key and then you moved, email me (beth hommel at gmail) your new address so I can send you a THING.

2.) Yes, I am still accepting keys. Probably when I am an old lady I will still be collecting keys. My house will be full of keys. I think I sealed my fate the night I got that first one tattooed on my arm.

3.) I am going to be updating Other People's Keys with photos of the keys I've gotten. Yay! Watch that space for yours.

4.) I love you.


So. I haven't updated this blog in ages, but let me tell you... there's so much to be said.
I cannot believe how many keys have come in the mail. Here's a stack of key letters I still need to photograph, respond to, and string:

key update

It's intimidating! But I'm going to get through them, because these keys and stories are too good not to be shared.

While I was on tour, people gave me keys not in envelopes. Not all of these have people or stories to go with them. Do you recognize your keys?

Orphan Keys

Other things worth talking about: YES, I am still accepting keys, even with the backlog, even with the threatening-to-take-over-my-life nature of this project. I love this. So much.

And other people seem to love it too. Here's some KEY ART that people have made for me (and there's more than I need to photograph and put her, including SHIRTS from Cynthia and Hayley and a beautiful painting by Lucy and another beautiful painting by Kayla and a beautiful pastel drawing by Lauren and probably 10 others I am forgetting.)

This is by the fucking awesome Sylvia K:

by Sylvia K

This poem is by the fantastic Hayley:
By Hayley

This song ("The One About Keys") is by the legendary Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (I cannot wait to hear this in person):

And this ("Orphans") is by the incredibly talented and just plain incredible Kayla Oberlin (ditto):

I love that so much art--- for me and for others-- is coming out of this project. I love that so many of you are reaching out with your keys and stories, which are fucking amazing.

I love life.

I love keys.

I love you.

Love (obviously),
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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 02:28am on 06/02/2009 under ,
I am feeling complicated tonight.

I worked much of the day perfecting a Project for work. It's something I've worked on for more than six months and it's been a long journey, but the finish line is in sight. I am really proud of it.

My brain got fried, so I took a break from work that turned into two hours of playing the ukulele. It made me miss having a guitar, because it's really hard to play a slow, sad, emo song on the ukulele. I told Katrina this and she said that she'd loan me her guitar.

Then I sang acapella in my bathroom and recorded it and showed it to people on the internet. This made me feel extremely vulnerable so I also did it naked. That was good.

Then I made some art, and that was good, too. Things went awry, like they tend to, but in a good way. I'll post photos tomorrow.

Then I answered some emails and sent some things to some people that they needed and remembered that there are new photos to go in Amanda's press section on Flickr.

This is one of them:

I think this is possibly one of the best photos I've ever taken. It is certainly one of my favorites.

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So. Went to DC and worked the Dolls show at the 9:30 Club. Bought a Bling-Bama shirt on the street (Barak, all in bling, it's amazing and says HOPE on it.)

It was a really beautiful night. I met a musician named Ari Gold who rocked the uke, keyboard, drums AND danced his ass off and was actually a really nice guy backstage too. And then I walked past Grace Potter a bunch of times while she was practicing backstage and every time thought, "Damn, that chick in the boots with the electric guitar is HOT." But we had to leave before her set was done to get the 2AM Chinatown bus back, which ended up not leaving until nearly three but which got us to NYC before 6. Daaaaaaaaaamn.

Highlights of the trip:
- War Pigs (AMAZING)
- An empty Chinatown bus on the way down... because we missed the one we had tickets for.
- Buying the BLING BAMA shirts with Katrina.
- The sense in the air of togetherness.
- Obama on my Metro ticket.
- Ending up at a restaurant in DC, randomly sitting next to the cousin of a girl I know through Amanda.
- Eating lo mein with my hands on the bus ride home.
- This photo:

Oh... and the fact that "President Barack Obama" isn't just a nice idea, but a reality.

So. Got back Wednesday EARLY morning, slept a few hours, worked for the rest of the night. Thursday we shot some material for an electronic press kit (EPK) for Amanda and then Friday we had the What's the Use of Wonderin' shoot.

Video shoots are hard. Crew members and space rentals are expensive, so you try to cram as much as you can into one day.

I've now done.... ten? Ten music videos. Wow. That's what happens when you work for an artist who decides to make a video for EVERY SONG ON THE RECORD. Anyway, every single time, I'm in awe of the quantity and quality of work that gets done in the course of a day.

Yesterday was a strange one... some of our usual crew wasn't there (since we were shooting in NYC) and there were a few new people filling in for them. It also felt exceptionally long, along I suppose it was about the same as all the others.

I did what I do, which is to say I took stills and pinned dresses and went on soda runs and made inappropriate comments to Pope and tried to stay out of the way. We also ran a Party on the Internet ( which was fun but there was really too much chaos. An experiment, we'll know for next time. I really want to do another Party on the Internet like the first one, which was on release night, at the Cloud Club. We drank a bottle of wine and Amanda talked for two hours.

I like video shoots because I feel very useful and I get to use my body in my work. So much of what I do takes place behind a computer screen, I start to feel disconnected. Must get back to doing yoga regularly.

Art. Let's talk about art in this rambly entry.

That is from a short (ten minute) shoot I did with Amanda before the EPK shoot. A friend looked at a larger set (about 20 images) and declared that a few of them were the best photos I'd ever taken. At some point, I'll release them and you'll see.

That's from the What's the Use shoot. I love it and I'm not precisely sure why.

Hillary, the director of photography. One of the things I love about Michael Pope is that he puts women in power. He's smart enough to pick the right ones, too--- Hillary is awesome, as is Bri Olsen, Pope's producer, and Casey Long, art director and reluctant music video star.

This is Casey:

Pope manning the monitor:

This entry has really meandered. So much going on, both within and without. Yesterday was the first day since New Year's that I didn't feel sick. Amazing feeling.

Paparazzi (photo by Bri Olsen):

I everything about that picture. The handsome fellow next to me is Desi and you can see AFP's profile in the shadow on the reflector. Also, BELLY.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 12:04am on 27/12/2008 under , , , ,
I did an interview of sorts with Upstream of Consciousness.

It was a lot of fun.

I actually don't even remember writing this line: I find often that the more complicated my feelings for someone are, the more interesting the photographs I take of them.

I answered that one on the train, on my Blackberry. I think I had been drinking.

Nonetheless, it's very very true.

Cut for complications. )

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 07:46pm on 25/12/2008 under , , ,
My friend Steven wrote a summary of his year.

I want to do that.

At the bottom, he wrote messages to specific people.

Beth - I hope you're chasing your dreams.. you've got the key already.. you don't need to seek it.

Yes. I have the key. But I'm standing in a room looking around and every single inch of wall is covered with doors.

I can't see my dreams for all the possibilities.

The Princess used to criticize me. "But what are your GOALS," she'd ask. "You're so smart and you're so talented, but you don't have any direction! You need to make a plan."

My plan is to do cool projects with cool people.

My goal is to make art in many forms.

My dream is to make people happy.

My purpose is to love.


My goal is to make art in many forms.

Two nights ago, I made this:

It needs to be re-done as that chain was much more complicated to work with than I thought it would be and got a little twisty. I am really happy with it, though. It's Frankenstein jewelry, made of little things I've collected over the years. I need more broken jewelry to cannibalize. I want to make many, many more of these and give them to everyone I love.

I love this key. I BOUGHT it, it's not something special that was given to me.

I drew this lock as part of a present for someone. I burned the edges of the paper and then photographed it on some book pages (cut out of another project in process):

I haven't drawn anything in ten years. I am really happy with how it turned out.

More art. More art and more love. This is the dream.

And I am following it.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:41pm on 21/12/2008 under , , ,
I have been doing a lot of writing on my Blackberry on subways.

I wrote a long, ranty blog the other day and then didn't post it because it felt too mean. I may like mean girls, but I'm not one.

A few days before that it was an intellectual diatribe on sexuality, which I never finished because it wasn't really funny enough to be worth the effort.

Today it was more song lyrics. I need to acquire some kind of uncomplicated musical instrument to see if they truly are songs and not poems. Perhaps the spoons?

My BB (and being underground on trains unable to instantly share my thoughts with the world) is turning me into a diarist.

I wrote a really great blog today about one of the best compliments someone ever said behind my back, but to explain it I had to tell too much of a story not my own, so you'll have to rest assured that today someone told me something someone else said and it made my heart wobble a bit.


I spent an entire night with Becca and Meow, the two of them chatting in French and then gushing about Liza Minelli. I had little to say but enjoyed listening to their conversation. In such situations I worry that I am not sparkling enough and that afterwards any new acquaintance might say, "Oh, Beth... yes, not terribly interesting, that one."

I am desperately frightened that people will judge me boring and not give me another chance.

Last night was free of such pressure, as I was surrounded by people who perform who would gladly take the spotlight and entertain me. I am so grateful for those evenings when I am not expected to be charming or funny or entertaining or ON. Evenings when I can have a glass of wine and relax.


I worked on a poster design for New Year's today. I like it. It's a bit garish, but isn't New Years a bit garish? I would like to take a class or two in graphic design so that I might actually DO this rather than fake it.

... although I have never, not once, had a class in photography and I most certainly do not feel that I fake that. So.


Brunch with Abby today and lemon pie. I'm going to be shooting the art for her new album. (Album is AMAZING, I've got an unmastered advance copy and it's blowing me away.) I'm excited, and a bit nervous. At some point we stopped being stoned kids fucking around with camera and guitar and started being Artists. You can't expect much from a reckless, flakey kid with a camera, so if she strikes gold it's a welcome surprise.

Artists are supposed to hit the mark much more often.


Everyone is getting their Christmas present late this year. Sorry, loves. Who knew it would get here so quickly?

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 01:44pm on 17/12/2008 under
Art update.

I sent out 67 pieces of random art to friends, family, old lovers and near-strangers that you suggested. I have confirmation that at least one has been received. This makes me happy.

I ordered the prints for all but three of the commissions to date. One of the commissions is on a much longer timespan, so I really only have two to tackle. One I've tried to shoot several times but things haven't been quite right. The other I'm at a loss for ideas. Before Christmas these must be put to bed--- so we try again.

I am struggling with the ideas of the commissions, because I am creating some of my best art ever for them... and they are, by nature, private between me and the person I'm creating them for. So if you want to experience them, you'll need to come to my house, or go to the house of someone I've made one for. The part of me that incessantly blogs is appalled that I would so hide my candle under a cup.. but the intimacy of the act of art-making in this fashion is lovely and fascinating. Hm.

I made a necklace for [ profile] oh_snitch using parts of other jewelry. It was a little bit Frankenstein, a little bit rock n' roll. An artist in the Union Square market asked her where she got it--- when she told him I did it, he said I had a very good eye:

We wandered the city and I showed her my favorite thing in all of New York:

I finally got a photo of the key that [ profile] trixiebella showed me ages ago:

And... free art for you. The Bride.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:30pm on 08/12/2008 under ,
Okay, NOW the entries are screened and the non-screened comments are deleted. Whoa, y'all are fast.

To answer questions from those comments:

- No, not YOU. Someone else. Anyone!
- Yes, international mail is okay, but be warned I will send it SLOW.
- Yes, giving to family members is okay.
- No, there will be no return address, so there will definitely be mystery.
- Yes, all you have to do is post someone's address and I'll send them a photo.
- Yes, if you want to tell me why you want a photo to go to a certain person, please do--- I like stories.
- No, you don't have to tell me why.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:02pm on 05/12/2008 under , ,
Working... breathing... trying to rationalize that at some point soon I will feel BETTER.

I had something to say but I forgot it. Sometimes there is only energy for pictures. These are the last ones of the lovely Kim and Zoe from Vermillion Lies. How weird is it that, within the space of a month, they went from being a band I was geeking out on to being real people who crashed at my apartment? I mean, how often does THAT happen?

... wait... don't answer that.

More... )

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:42pm on 01/12/2008 under ,
Vermillion Lies has a new video, by Sylvia K, who is this KICKASS artist/animator/blanket-maker/cool chick.

The thing I love about her videos (she did one for Amanda too) is that the animated people actually look like the people they're supposed to look like. It makes me want to record an album just so I could beg Sylvia to make a video of one of the songs and turn me into a cartoon.

But, as my musical talent is... ahem... limited at best, here's the video for Long Red Hair.


ps - If I DID release an album, it would be called "I'm For The Gays" and it would feature only gut-wrenching, obvious singer/songwriter type songs about love. Singles would include, "Too Many Feelings," "Emo is Universal," and "Dyke in Shining Armor."
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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 12:25am on 28/11/2008 under , ,
Let's talk art.

I've shot five commissions. There are a few that are proving problematic--- the ideas in my head are too clear to let it be "almost right." But they are coming.

For those of you who ordered 8x10 prints, my huge apologies for the delay. I ordered them before tour and then got home to find that the place I ordered from had inexplicably canceled the order. They're re-ordered, and they'll soon be here and I'll package them up for you and send them away.

If you ordered a surprise print, you should have it already, unless you ordered in the past four days, in which case it's on its way. Let me know if you didn't get it.

The hardest part about doing these commissions is that I want to SHOW THE WORLD the art I'm making. But it's yours and you're the only one who can give me permission to go, "Look, look! ART!"

For now, I'll give you a few outtakes:

And if these are the rejects, imagine what the real thing looks like. )

So... I'm going to keep doing commissions at $50 for a while longer, but since I've been putting a LOT of time into some, I may need to bump that up. Or maybe not. We'll see how it all rolls.

In case you're new, here are the details (also note that prints are no longer mounted, because it was brought up to me by several people that they don't WANT them mounted):

1.) For those of you who want something totally unique, for $50 I will go out and MAKE ART for you. You can give me general guidelines (a topic, a mood, a color) or not. I will take a photograph for you, retouch it, have it printed, sign and send it to you. It will be numbered 1/2. You will have one print, I will keep the other. No others will ever exist. I won't even share it on the internet unless you give me permission.

2.) Below the cut are twelve of my favorite photos ever. I am selling signed 8x10 prints of these images for $25 (including shipping).

3.) Send me $5 and I will send a surprise 4x6 or 5x7 print to you. You'll have no idea what it will be until it arrives.

Prints Available, or, arrrrrgh, be warned, here be nipples! )


Option 2 - Choose an 8x10:
Name of Desired Print

Option 3 - Surprise Print!:

If you want to give someone a commission for any of the exciting upcoming winter holidays, and let them pick the subject, then note that in the Paypal comments field and I'll send you a pretty gift certificate to put under the tree/menorah/mantle/car. If you'd rather they unwrap actual art, that's cool too--- just get your orders in ASAP and note that you need it before the holidays.

All in all... this experiment is going well. I'm making art (and I was BONE DRY for a while).

And I'm going to New Orleans in early 2009.

So thank you.


ps - Yesterday Kim Vermillion smiled at me from the couch and said, "I know what song you need to hear." And then she played me a song she wrote about New Orleans. It was one of the most epically beautiful moments I've had in months.

This is Kim right after she played that song for me. Art for art.
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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 10:02pm on 07/11/2008 under , , ,
Um... wow.

So a week ago, I tossed up a few Paypal buttons and an idea, half expecting to get laughed off the internet.

That is not what happened.

THANK YOU, all of you, who have supported my art. In every way. From the commissions to the prints to the encouraging comments to the random email I got the other day from someone who read about this project and loved it and wanted to send me homemade jam-- you are awesome.

I wanted to give you some updates.

1.) COMMISSIONS. I love commissions. For those of you who requested commissions, I am SO STOKED to make art for you. I've realized that art making will take a little time (I am plotting out specific shoots for each of you, several of which require people who I'll have to wrangle) so your pieces may take up to a month to create. Some will be faster. If it's going to take longer than a month (ie, I need a little pink haired fairy for a shoot and [ profile] fairytalevegas is away in Aruba until mid-December), I will email you and ask nicely if you are willing to wait.

2.) NUDITY. Some of you were worried about buying the surprise prints because your parents/roommates/significant others/children might not dig surprise nudity or other adult images. I understand that. Therefore, if you want "clean" surprise prints, just put that in the comments field and I will oblige.

3.) PRINTS. For those of you who ordered prints, I have ordered them from my printer and they're on their way to me. Soon after that, they will be on their way to you. Yay! Also, I find it fun that I've sold SEVEN copies of "Kitchen". Y'all love kissing girls. This is cool, because I also love kissing girls. Ahem.

4.) TIME. Many of you asked how long I'll continue to accept commissions/sell prints. The answer is "I hope for a long time."

5.) LIFE. Is good and full of love.


ps - Here is FREE ART for you.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 02:36am on 01/11/2008 under , , ,
I had the urge, the other night, to get on a plane and go somewhere.

I can't, because all my credit cards are maxed out from the last time I got on a plane and went somewhere.

I don't regret London. Going to London on a moment's notice was one of the best decisions I ever made. But my financial instability has started to weigh heavily on me.

So, I give you:

The Romantic Travel Fund(raiser)

1.) For those of you who want something totally unique, I have a proposition. For a limited time, for $50 I will go out and MAKE ART for you. You can give me general guidelines (a topic, a mood, a color) or not. I will take a photograph for you, retouch it, have it printed and mounted on matboard, sign and send it to you. It will be numbered 1/2. You will have one print, I will keep the other. No others will ever exist. This seems cool to me.

2.) Below the cut are ten of my favorite photos ever. I am selling signed 8x10 prints of these images, mounted on matboard, for $25 (including shipping).

3.) Send me $5 and I will send a surprise 4x6 or 5x7 print to you. You'll have no idea what it will be until it arrives.

I have no idea if this is going to work, but I know one thing: I want to click the shutter in New Orleans soon. So let's try.

Prints Available, or, arrrrrgh, be warned, here be nipples! )

So, to recap:


Option 2 - Choose an 8x10:
Name of Desired Print

Option 3 - Surprise Print!:

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:44pm on 23/10/2008 under
This photograph by Myles Boisen.

This poem, by Ranga (correct me, dear, if I've spelled it wrong):


Scratch your name into the sand,
wait for someone to write "+"
Enter name and enclose in heart.
Wait for tide to rise, water to come,
sweep sand into sand, blur it together,
wash it away like neither ever existed.

This song by Olga Nunes

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 03:40am on 18/10/2008 under , , ,
My fever broke yesterday. It had been a year.

My heart has a specific rebuilding process when it's been broken. First, I stop eating. Not on purpose... I just can't stand the feel of food in my mouth when my heart is broken.

After a while, I start eating again. That's about the time I stop crying. By then, a dull calm has descended over me. The heart stops aching and is simply comatose. A low grade fever settles in. I resume normal life. I look normal. I act normal.

Something is missing. At that point, I am five steps back from my life. I can see it and hear it, but it doesn't touch me. I am uninvolved in my life. I eat, but I cannot sleep.

The heart coma lasts as long as it needs to. The swelling goes down and the heart wakes up. The trauma and coma have left a thick crusty layer of scabs around the heart. Nothing gets through. I am then two steps from life, surrounded by a thick membrane of protection. It's warm. The fever grows.

By then I am close enough to normal that I can play act at connection. I kiss. I have sex. I go home and lay awake, wondering what is so broken in me that I cannot get out of my head when I do these things.

The heart, of course. The scabs fall off. The membrane thins. The things inside me and the things outside me almost have a chance of meeting. They see each other, doh see dohing on dark street corners.

At this stage, I get frustrated by the membrane. The fever makes me restless and achy. I miss love. I itch, like the skin under the cast you're getting off tomorrow.

Then all of a sudden, something shifts and the barrier between me and life bursts. The world rushes in.


My hands are covered in paint.

I've spent the past six hours creating a... thing. For a person. A girl.

I don't do this normally. Arts and crafts are not my thing. I typically follow a pattern of getting VERY into something, buying all the stuff to do it, and then giving up when my product is lackluster. See also: jewelry making, stained-glass, painting, sculpting, sewing and silk-screening.

Yet somehow I am not deterred. It occurred to me earlier today that I wanted to make ART for this girl. And so I am.

This is an impulse I haven't felt in many many months.

It makes me happy and hopeful.

bethofalltrades: (abby hide and seek)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 03:43pm on 07/03/2008 under
November 28th, 2007: I need to have artistic, trash-picking, thrift store shopping, odd performance art doing, collaborative outcast friends. My art flourished when I had my misfit toys to play with. Where do I find more?

Oh, there you are!

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:43pm on 24/02/2008 under , , ,
This is a public entry. I went private some time ago because my girlfriend at the time was paranoid and ashamed. We've been done for quite some time and I'm at a point where I'm ready to let the world in again.


The shoots yesterday went incredibly well, despite the fact that it was COLD AS FUCK.

Several things need saying... a multitude of things, really. We'll start with community.

I am a person who craves belonging and community. I've spent the majority of my post-adolescent life trying to shoehorn myself into various communities. The gay community, the theatre community, the young-idealistic-nonprofit-slaves community. I have always, as the line goes, longed for a community of my own, but ultimately it has been me, with my camera, alone. I kept trying trying trying to fit somewhere and I kept failing failing failing. It was always a little off, like trying to force two jigsaw pieces together. You might be able to round the corners enough from sheer force to make them join, but the picture is never quite right.

I found my people. The art freaks. In the past two months I've made more friends than I've made in the past... ever. And so the girl who used to have panic attacks in seventh grade every day before lunch because she had no one to sit with is welcomed with open arms by a dozen others who were suffering their own panic attacks in far-flung cafeterias.

These people have transformed my art. Dan's prodding kept me moving along in the project despite my tendency to burn out before I've begun. Doug and Lauren G's photo-guidance and expertise pushed my technique to new levels. And I have no idea what I wouldn't have done without the incredible FAITH from my entire cast and crew, most notably Hayley, Lauren W and Len.

My cast. Twelve last night alone, all of us at a long table at the Life Cafe-- how poetic. No dancing on the tables, but lots of laughter and sharing of stories (and food). I looked around and saw people who'd just met that day deep in conversation, seemingly old friends. Our ages, professions, hometowns and personalities ran the gamut, yet there was one trait that I could see in each person: kindness. I have never found so many individuals who are so willing to love strangers.

Last night, one of our lot looked up from a dish of chocolate cake and announced, "I want to get my nose pierced."

"Right now?" I asked.


"Okay. Let's go do that."

And so, a field trip. The lovely Lauren W led us to a hole-in-the-wall and a piercer named Vinny. The lot of us crowded in to the tiny space and watched as he deftly threaded the jewelry through her nostril.

"Who's next?" Vinny asked, looking from freak to freak.

I'm a mild-mannered executive assistant. I wear dress pants every day. I'm polite to salespeople on the phone as they waste my time with their overly complicated pitches and slow paces. I'm the Man.


Hayley says this is the beginning of my renaissance. )

bethofalltrades: (ani sanity)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 01:25pm on 14/01/2008 under , , ,
I am awesome and insane and so wickedly blessed.

I am also stranded for the next six hours in the Richmond airport.

Last minute plane ticket: $142
Hotel room for five hours of sleep and a cold shower: $40
Ticket to the last Dolls show of this tour: $25
Hearing Amanda Palmer utter the words "Beth, you're fucking amazing": Fucking priceless

Photos and a ful recap to follow when I'm not using my PDA.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
I am constantly innundated with these situations that press the question of:


Am I a girl who types and sits in an office for eight hours a day and is pleasant and kind and likes being someone's secretary?

Am I a starving artist who is okay with the instability that comes along with temping because it brings with it great freedom?

Am I going to buy a new pair of high heels or shall I buy a pair of combat boots? (You're not Ani DiFranco, Beth. You're not that indie and you know it.)

There is such fear in me. Fear that I have this obligation to create art and am failing it, fear that an office job will turn me into a drone, fear that living an artist's life will find me at 35 broke, childless and terribly obscure.

I make lists, but how am I supposed to balance the glories of health insurance against the ability to say, "Hey, getting on a bus tomorrow, need to heal" without getting fired? Is there a way to weight a stable income against a manic mind?

Do I just idealize the artist's life? I spend my insomnatic nights reading blog entries of a mad woman who makes her living banging on a piano and standing perfectly still in a public place. Does that sound like heaven to anyone else?

I repeat my mantras, I am not getting older, I will not die young, I have plenty of time for everything that I want, I am not a failure, I am not a worthless piece of driftwood floating at the whim of the current.

When given a choice, why would I choose for life to be hard? Is suffering noble? Must I suffer to be a true artist? Am I okay with counting pennies to pay my rent, or do I like pretty clothes too much? (I like pretty clothes too much.)

If I wake up in an office-- not a cube, an office-- will I feel like I've been duped or will I be relieved that I can finally investigate the meaning of that strange mole on my lower back?

To be perfectly honest (and when am I ever perfectly honest) I could use the chance to build a nest egg. Build a nest egg and then quit my job and land on the steps of an artists' collective and say, "Open the door and let me in, I NEED you!" Save up enough cash to spend a year doing nothing but having piles and piles of babies art.

Nothing is permanent. Making one decision now doesn't mean I can't make a different one later. I am still young.

The funny thing is, if I were still with the Princess, there would be no wracked decision. Go corporate and fuck art, spend your time in bed watching movies and in the kitchen cooking dinner and just let yourself be fucking happy (for a change). I was happy. I was looking forward to a life that included marriage and children-- let's be honest and say that's what I really want.

Now I'm like, well, the suffering has kicked in, why not finally take that trip to New Orleans and take your camera and see what lies beneath the black type in the newspaper? Why the fuck are you trading freedom for security?

Am I exchanging a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?


i want a real life
a real love
one that grows upwards in daylight
bethofalltrades: (i love you little girl)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 04:02pm on 08/10/2007 under , , , ,
They say that of all the senses, smell has the greatest ability to make us nostalgic. Musty, dying smells conjure up forgotten afternoons of playing in abandoned barns. I keep smelling "new toy" and remembering sitting in the front seat of my mom's Volkswagon Rabbit, tearing open the package of the She-Ra doll who had wings. I walked into David's theatre in P-town and all I could think about was perching in the third row at Crave rehearsals, mouth agape.

In the rows of boxes of complimentary coffees and teas here at the office, I found a lone Mango Ceylon teabag. As soon as the steaming water from the dusty watercooler hit it, the aroma of vanilla and something I can only characterize as "warmth" permeated the air.

Mango Ceylon is Kiva Han iced tea. Kiva Han. I treated that coffeeshop as my office for the better part of a year, holding meetings with actors and designers over tea. The Honors College gave me a stipend to spend a summer reading all about theatre in its loft-- well, theatre and psychology and hate crimes and life. It was a summer I spent learning, mostly about myself, that fell into a fall in which I had my meetings with an endless parade of the wonderful.

James, uncharacteristically relaxed as we watched aquaintences waiting in line for coffee. Sarahs H & P, each whiled away an hour with me talking different types of art. I first fell for Julie at a table tucked into a corner of Kiva Han and my advances were declined in the most charming and kind way there by the delightful Lizzie D. Tonya sketched me a blueprint of rape and mercy-killing as the bland blonde next to us grew more and more pale. I met Rachel for coffee there more times than I could count, chatting feminism, fat and all things intellectual, revelling. I took Julie Moreau there when she was freaked out and when a cup of tea didn't calm her we went back to my place and got stoned.

The bathroom. I knew Abby had arrived when I went into Kiva Han's bathroom and there were here lyrics on the wall-- and I hadn't written them. I loved that bathroom graffiti and I was saddened when the discourse grew nasty and someone took a sharpie and ruined all.

I close my eyes and I can see the table. My iced tea, two Sweet n Lows, lovingly prepared by the barista of XY chromosomes who always wore a skirt and usually had a bad attitude. The debris on the table-- a straw paper, two napkins soaked with the plastic glass's perspiration, an empty plate with oatmeal raisin cookie crumbs-- all arranged to best visually balance, because back then I still compulsively ordered trash. My blue Jansport backpack wedged under the table. At Kiva, you could leave your iPod on the table and go to the bathroom and no one would steal it.

I close my eyes and I see the place, with the often ridiculous art on the walls. I always secretly wanted a show at Kiva Han. I close my eyes and see a dozen people rotating in and out of the chair across from me. My office, except not, because I was no suit. I was queen, holding court.

I open my eyes and my tea is almost gone. It's in a green Rockefeller mug, not a plastic glass, and it's hot, not cold. I'm wearing slacks, not jeans, and I can't remember the last time I had a cookie. I no longer arrange debris on the tables of restaurants, unless I am very, very nervous. I haven't done theatre in a long time and I think I miss it. Friends have scattered and no one meets me at Kiva Han anymore.

I want to go to Kiva Han. I want to hold court and scribble on the bathroom wall and spend an entire afternoon getting refills on my Mango Ceylon iced tea and reading books from the library. I want to declare my love for someone over a carrot muffin. I want my art on Kiva's walls.

I am nostalgic. I blame my sense of smell.




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