Ann Hirsch’s “Scandalishious”

this cage is worms

This is the first thirty minutes of Ann Hirsch performance. She lived the life of a youtube “camwhore” (her words) for a significant amount of time, and I think this is the culmination of that work as a performance for a group of people in a small space Some of the videos she is sent are heartbreaking; the chats linger. The laughter in the audience makes me ashamed to be a human and destroys me.

I’m sorry I’m not writing about this well, but I’m doing this early Thursday morning. Time travel.

You can find Ann Hirsch on twitter. You can see more of her art here. You can listen to her on one of my favorite podcasts here.

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Ginger Men


Back to Salem and the material world. August is the traditional Americana month in the world of Antiques auctions and shows, and one particular lot from this weekend’s upcoming Skinner Americana auction has me transfixed: Ammi Phillips’ PortraitofaGingerhairedYoungMan, which has an estimate of $15,000-$25,000. What a portrait! Riveting blue eyes, patrician profile, the 19th century hand-in-waistcoat pose, and very notable ginger hair.

Ginger-Haired Man POrtrait

Ginger is the preferred term for red hair in the nineteenth century, and before. The relative rarity of this hair color created a folkloric characterization (shiftless, hot-tempered) that endured for centuries. The weakness of William the Conqueror’s heir, William Rufus, was attributed to his hair color, as was the voracious personality of Henry VIII. Much later, the prejudices subsided, but the titles of nineteenth-century portraits of redheaded men, women and children always reference hair color, still the conspicuous characteristic…

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‘You the smartest bitch in this place’: What if brains were sexy?


The women I love are smart women.

My mom taught English (after getting her M.A. in rhetoric) and writes and directs plays. My wife graduated third in her class at UIUC Law and runs her own law firm. My maternal grandmother and her mother recited poetry for fun, and when my dad’s mom wasn’t allowed (by her father) to go to high school, she repeated eighth grade just so she could keep going to school.

Granted, certain women’s shapes and smiles catch my attention. Thus speaks biology through my mind. But, of course, beauty fades while minds flower, and the women (and men) who are the most interesting are those who know stuff, who do things. (Of course, this implies that people should learn and do things for other people, while I believe that learning is intrinsically rewarding.)

So, I’d like to see more pop songs celebrate women’s minds…

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Mark Vonnegut on art and mental illness


Mark Vonnegut, son of novelist Kurt, wrote a book a couple years ago about his bipolar disorder. An excerpt, from which I’ve taken some cuts below, is here.

If my great-grandfather Bernard Vonnegut hadn’t started crying while doing inventory at Vonnegut Hardware and hadn’t told his parents that he wanted to be an artist instead of selling nails and if his parents hadn’t figured out how to help him make that happen, there are many buildings in and around Indianapolis that wouldn’t have gotten built. Kurt senior wouldn’t have created paintings or furniture or carvings or stained glass. And Kurt junior, if he existed at all, would have been just another guy with PTSD–no stories, no novels, no paintings. And I, if I existed at all, would have been just another broken young man without a clue how to get up off the floor.

Art is lunging forward without…

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