Archive for Toledo

My Bike is a Magical Pony

Posted in Adventures in Design, Dork Alert, Goof & Glamour, In Celebration of the Absurd with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I rode a horse long before I ever road a bike. Born in the nothern New Mexico mountains, I was riding bareback by the time I was 2. Too bare from the sound of it. “You were just like Lady Godiva!” my dad would boast, often in mixed company. The horse was Jack. My Dad had known him for many years and trusted him. Not one to spook, Jack was emotional, intuitive, gentle and wise. I was never afraid.

It wasn’t until we moved to Toledo that my grandpa gifted me with a sparkly Schwinn, presenting it to me like it was a Cadillac car (which it became.)  

The bike scared me way more than the horse, or at least it did for for one terrifying 1/2 hour, after the training wheels came off. I was still uncertain of the physics but my Dad wasn’t willing to mosey through the big-girl bike process. (Years later, when teaching me t0 ride a motorcycle, he employed the exact same “Now or Never, Do or Die” method.) 

Once I managed to stay up after he broke his vow and let go — WOW! A bike with training wheels is like an orgasm without a moan. The release that comes with speed or sound, mmm. The bliss of velocity, the rush of movement, oh I was hooked. I hardly missed horses after that.

And when I did, my bike became a rusty stallion; mane blowing in the wind, hooves hitting cobblestone.

A few of the roads in our little south Toledo hood were brick paved and ahhh that pompompompompom sound still thrills.

Wasn’t I just telling y’all about the furious pedaling that took place as I rode my bike home from the library?  The potency is undiluted by the years. The musty papery scent of library books combined with the snapzap of rubber & gravel.  Those memories are saturated by the heady oomph of freedom. I had a lipstick red convertible Caddy and a platinum AM EX  (cherry red schwinn, library card) It’s not surprising that I often find myself back there in my dreams, navigating those roads in a strange bike-car hybrid.

For a kid, a bicycle is always more than a bike.  To you, it’s a beater with a banana seat. To them it’s a Venice beach lo rider or a gondola gliding along the canals of the otherVenice. To you, it’s a crooked big wheel. To them, it’s a monster truck.

Kids are always peddling in a ghosty aura or otherness.

Which is why I’m madly in love with “horsey,” eungi kim’s entry in ‘seoul cycle design competition 2010‘.   Kim’s design entry was shortlisted from over 3000 designs. The designboom competition was organized in collaboration with the  seoul design foundation.

Kim’s clever creation turns any bike into a magical pony.

 

Kim describes the product thusly:
 

‘horsey’ is an attachable bicycle ornament/accessory which makes one’s bicycle look horsey!
the ‘horsey’ package includes wooden ornaments (horsey shape body), metal parts, and screws.
the manual is very simple so that anyone can easily arrange it according to one’s needs.
through this ‘horsey’ project. I wanted to give a special look to bicycles so that people would care
about cycling not only as transportation but also as a lovely pet.

 

I think “horsey” is a magical ode to dreaming. I have just two concerns.

1) Will this horsey actually be sturdy enough for the kind of galloping I’ve got in mind?

2) When will you be launching a unicorn version?

Cause I’d like to order one of those suckers in either black licorice or pink neon. Hmm. What do you think? Black unicorn or pink unicorn?

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Gaga Must Be in Awe of Mark Ryden. (Hell, Who Isn’t?)

Posted in Art & Culture, Fame & Celebrity, Feminism (Shades of Gray), Goof & Glamour, I Heart Shaman*Art, I Heart Tricksters, In Celebration of the Absurd, Lipstick Shamaness, Psyche & Sexuality, punk rock, Sexuality, Sideshow Siren & Bearded Lady, Star F*#ker, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by alphabetfiend

   I didn’t watch the VMAs but, periodically glancing down at my iphone screen, I saw that twitter was all a-twitter over Lady Gaga’s meat dress.     

(Yes, IPhone, yes Twitter. Groan. “Long Story,” sighs The Lusty Luddite.)    

    

But no one was saying the obvious which was “OMG! Gaga’s gone real life Ryden!”    

Check out that white flaxen hair!

  

Being the selfish little writer-chick that I am I decided to save my “OMG!” for y’all. Except then I couldn’t get online for the umpteenth time (boy, the free wifi from my next door coffee shop sho’ ain’t whut it used ta be.) By the next morning, several people were pointing it out, including Ryden himself. (On Twitter. Hence Twitter.)    

    

Look, no one’s calling Gaga a Ryden rip-off or at least I’m not. It’s still super cool & mad genius. Once again, Lady Gaga used costume as an artistic and spiritual medium; stirring our own frockful fantasies; probing own throbbing architectures of mythos & meaning. So yea, it was pretty much awesome. After all, the girl in “Incarnation” isn’t a real-life girl with stepped-one toes. She was a fantasy, up for the taking.    

Gaga plucked that sucker from the tree of meaning and took a big juicy bite. Oh, wait, let’s try that again. >>I’m a bit rusty due to my recent sabBRATtical. << Gaga fillet’d that fucker from the flank of id and toothesomely tore off a hunk of bloody flesh.    

    

It was brilliant, really, I loved it, except… well, it would’ve been much cooler if she had given Ryden a big old “Yea, baby!” shout-out rather than mumbling some vague, tired shit about feeling like a piece of meat or being seen as a commodity or bla bla bla. Shaaaad up, Lady Bla Bla.    

    

Look, the whole feminism “feeling like a piece of meat” thing, I get it. I just don’t buy it. Not from Gaga.    

Lady Gaga is an absolute expert at letting her meat hang out. If she were really troubled — feeling like a piece of ass — she’d probably cover that ass.     

     

Nah, I think it’s much more likely that Lady Gaga, just like the rest of us, has spent hours agog and drooling over Ryden’s paintings, searching for ourselves from among his feminine archetypes.    

    

I’ve often blamed Ryden’s meat paintings on pop culture’s current carnivorous phase. At the store, as customers went nuts over steak bath-mats and bacon band-aids, I’d just chuckle at Ryden’s far-reaching influence. People may not know that Ryden’s the reason they’re craving meaty gewgaws but he is.    

Mark Ryden put meat on the muther-fuckin’ map. Mark Ryden made meat cool.    

I dunno but I’ve heard that if you wanna get more followers on Twitter, you need only name-drop bacon.    

And vagina.    

And penis.    

And there, folks, is all you really need to know about WHY we are so obsessed with meat.    

    

We are meat. Sometimes we forget that we’re meat. And sometimes we long to remember.    

    

Mark Ryden probes that soft, bloody, fleshy place inside of us. And we…respond.    

    

Lady Gaga wasn’t saying “How dare you treat me like a piece of meat!” Puh-leeze. She was shouting, “Hey, everybody, look at me! I’m meaty!”    

"Broken Label" with Mark Ryden

  

Gaga was acting on an impulse that wasn’t as wholly original as many non-Ryden fans might think. In 2009, freaky fashion blogger Tatianista gave voice to that Grade A urge.    

How utterly fabulous would it be for an underground fashionista like myself to have wearable meat a la Ryden to add to my ever-growing, glamorously eccentric wardrobe? So fab, in fact, that someone far more clever thought of it long before I did.    

Tatianista waxed poetic about the Nagi Noda / Mark Ryden collaboration, which launched Noda’s “Broken Label.”    

The first and only collaborative fashion collection the two artists produced…will likely be as highly collectible as just about anything else Ryden has produced…even more-so now that Noda, whose broad body of work included everything from popular music videos and commercials to sculpture, conceptual art and “hair hats” died tragically young last year. She left this world wearing her favorite Chanel boots, Victor and Rolf black lace eyelashes and one of her own Mark Ryden dresses.    

In February of this year (2010) the prescient Schadenfreude Pony declared of the meat dress in Ryden’s “Incarnation”    

GaGa will be wearing it next week.    

Unlike Tatianista and Gaga, I’ve never felt an enormous need to wear a meat dress. I’ve always been more into Ryden’s more mythic maidens, all filled-up from the inside with story & secrets.    

    

 I was obsessed for a time with creating a t-bone steak clutch, perfect accessory for the LBD, but was too lazy and never got around to making it.    

    

The ground chuck bag was a Ryden collab with Paul Frank. I’m not sure who did the pork slab but isn’t it the ideal briefcase for bringin’ home the bacon?    

    

My someday steak purse would not be a real t-bone, of course, cause I can barely stomach raw meat when preparing it for the grill (and my stomach.) My meaty fashion forays would be more figurative than real life soon-to-be rotting flesh.    

    

Such as these folks did for a Mark Ryden opening. (She’s in stilts, I think, which is all kinds of circusy spectacular)    

Man in a meat at Mark Ryden show

  

Though I give Gaga big props for keeping it real. I mean, look at these shoes.    

    

They look like they’re ready for the oven not the VMAs.    

    

One sultry June night in Toledo, I met my friend Dan McGuire — my Precocious Dandy — at a gritty east-side club. Dan was joining a local band, The Porn Flakes, on-stage. As a steak. All 6 feet and 5 inches of Dan had disappeared into a giant foam-rubber t-bone. Back stage, in the tiny yard behind the club, Dan stripped outta the steak and changed into a giant cow.  I dropped down onto the discarded steak, lounging like it was a carne-chaise. In a tiny pinkey-orange sundress & pink boa, with a nice marmaladey tan, I was feeling pretty luxurious, pretty damn cheeky. Things were going great, until one of the Porn Flakes began to eye me hungrily.    

“What?” I playfully glowered. “What am I? Just a piece of meat?”    

“I dunno, nah,” he drooled, “But you sure do look like a golden, buttery mushroom to me mmm.”    

“Hey, hey! ” Dan hollered. “That’ll be enough of that. Have a little fuckin’ respect, why don’tya?   

While Dan railed and ranted — protectively, possevively — I lounged extra lasciviously on my meat chaise. I batted my lashes as Dan hurried to pack his things. I smirked as he reached for my hand, yanking me up, pulling me away from those perverted Porn Flakes. I giggled as I caught up with his long aggravated strides, glancing back at my starving admirer. Then I leaned lovingly into Dan’s sturdy ribs as we ran excitedly down the dirty street, a trail of pink feathers behind us.    

*All paintings/art by the crazy gorgeous genius Mark Ryden. Check out his dot.com  

*For another meaty anecdote, read “Ham, I Am”

Happy Birthday, Ruby Slippers!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Robots, Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Rock & Roll, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

A yellow brick road is today’s Google header — celebrating the 71st birthday of the landmark film “The Wizard of Oz!”

Happy birthday, Dorothy! And you, Lion! And you, Scarecrow! And of course, the Tinman!

And your little dog too.

Toto!

I think I can hear a heart beating from that box, Tinman. Unless it’s a bomb! I see a big butterscotch bow wrapped around a brain, Scarecrow. And for you, Lion, a lovely vial of courage serum. A little goes a long way! Don’t be a jackass! Dorothy? There’s a ticket to Kansas waiting at the airport. Tom Wolfe sez you can never go home again. Be forewarned, there’s probably a strip mall in Aunty Em’s corn field. So we got you a Pretenders album, so you can rock out to a song that this corn-fed midwestern gal (Holy Toledo!) has often enjoyed in a bittersweet kinda way.

MY CITY WAS GONE

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN
SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED
ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES
MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN
REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES
A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO

WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY FAMILY WAS GONE
I STOOD ON THE BACK PORCH
THERE WAS NOBODY HOME
I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
SLOWLY SWIRLED PAST
LIKE THE WIND THROUGH THE TREES
A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO!

But most importantly, I must wish The Ruby Slippers a happy birthday, being as they were my favorite character in all of Oz. Or they were until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Before it was a blockbuster musical it was just a really great and lovely book. Wicked tells the story from the witch’s point of view, so gorgeously that I fell in absolute love with Elphaeba aka “Elphie” with her green skin and her yearning heart. Wicked is one of the sexiest most romantic love stories I’ve ever read. Crazy sexy! I still get the shivers just to think of Elphie and her loverman with the blue tattoos. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read all of Maguire’s books and each one is a memorable joy.

Speaking of great Oz books, I recently bought a chunky tome by Graham Rawle that is outrageously illustrated with photographs of old toys and surreal beaded landscapes.

The book was a birthday treat for myself but then my baby niece, Thing 2, saw it up on the shelf — cover showing — and demanded to see it. I brought it down like a precious treasure and we very gently turned the pages. Thing 2 was enchanted and continues to be. She calls the lion a “GRR”

And she pointed to the tinman and exclaimed, “Robot!”

Thing 2 has a robot for an uncle so she knows all about robots. I didn’t correct her cause I’ve always thought the tinman was a robot too.

It’s a big birthday blow-out for childhood memories. Oz is 71 and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is 50. Google coulda celebrated Seuss instead with two green eggs as the double o’s.

The Rawle’s Oz (highly recommended by Thing 2) is available on amazon. So is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And the Pretenders too!

Cash Cab Hearts Kurt Vonnegut

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Dork Alert, TV with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by alphabetfiend

I was watching Cash Cab yesterday and was touched when, after a question about the author Kurt Vonnegut, Ben Bailey (host & cabbie) turned to the camera with a thumbs up.

We miss you, Kurt.

Cause wow we really do… all of us… maybe you don’t know you’re missing Kurt Vonnegut but believe me, you are! 

kurt-vonnegut

Which is exactly why I love Cash Cab — the game show that takes place in Ben Bailey’s NYC cab, only one of the countless cabs in the city. (OK 13,000. Someone counted.) So if, like me, you are DYING to play Cash Cab you must first be lucky enough to stumble into it. O! I want it to be me — the Alphabetfiend — bumbling & mumbling some Alphabet City address. I once watched as two older gentlemen won over $4000 dollars AND got dropped of at my favorite intersection in all the world. Across the way from the St. Marks Hotel (where I often stay like the village sleaze I am) and from the little Asian bakery where I get powdery cream puffs with a touch of green tea whipped into the fresh cream. Over there by where the tasty freeze truck parks. Right beside the Astor Place subway station where I love to jump on & off the 6. Yep, they were going to Starbucks but were it me I’d head straight to that tasty freeze and get me a butterscotch dip cone. I’d lick it while looking through the windows of that great bookstore and plotting my $4000 shopping spree. I’d have to hit H&M. Oh, no fair! Why can’t I be two old men in NYC, in Bailey’s cab, about to walk away with the most money ever won on Cash Cab? Why! Why I ask you?!  I was jealous of their winnings and I was jealous of their GPS location.

The Robot Boy and I would kick butt on Cash Cab. We know almost all the answers cause the questions are always about the random sort of literary smarty pants kind of shit we care about it. Crazy questions about space & time, ancient myth, freaky cult authors, haunted ships, famous amusement parks, or how to make a bomb. In recent episodes, two different episodes,  it all came down to questions whose answers I know in my bones.

  1. What Spanish city is not to be confused with an industrial city in Ohio? The contestents said “Seville. ” I knew they were done for as I screamed “TOLEDO!!!!!”
  2. The legendery amusement park, Cedar Point, is in what state? The guy risked $900 and lost it all when he answered “Washington” but I was serene as I swooned “OHIO.”

Both of those games ended in the riders being booted from the cab and left to walk on to their destination (or hail another less-fun cab that will ask you to pay them not the other way around.) But this Midwestern honey grew up in TOLEDO OHIO so I would not have been left like a loser on the curb. I spent every summer at Cedar Point, I spent every winter dreaming of that other Toledo.

Yep, it’s meant to be… me & Cash Cab sitting in a tree… k-i-s-s-i-n-g.  Gotta love the game show that mourns the loss of Vonnegut.

cash_cab_usa

I’d love to hail that hunk. Pick me pick me! Up! Cash Cab comes on the Discovery Channel between 5/4c -7/6c pm on weekdays. That’s four episodes so take a 25 minute break and see if you can beat me on Cash Cab. By the way, I’m watching it as we speak and Bailey has just said

“Cash Cab has a vanity plate. 7N78. Can you figure out what it means?”

I’m drawing a blank! What do you think?

Autumn Leaves like a Hardigree Painting

Posted in Art & Culture, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by alphabetfiend

But do people living in Toledo
Know that their name hasn’t travelled very well?
And does anybody in Ohio
Dream of that Spanish citadel?
–Elvis Costello

I never expected to miss Toledo. After all this is Ohio we’re talking about, not Spain. And in the winter, hell no I don’t (well maybe a little romp in the snow but not snow for four straight months until it’s black & crispy at the side of the road.) But come fall, I yearn for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. Feet clad in boots the color of Turkish tobacco. For red, orange & yellow leaves be-dotting all the trees — and sweaters to match. Which is why I love this painting by Carolina Hardigree. For a southern girl, she sure managed to capture this Yank’s Autumnal nostalgia.

sycamore

In Austin fall happens in a flash. Blink and you’ll miss it. The leaves change overnight and drop just as fast. So imagine my delight when, about a week and 1/2 ago, I awoke to Hardigree’s painting in real life unfolding. My bathroom window looking onto my back yard might as well have been a canvas full of Hardigree’s dreamy evocative brush strokes. Oh it was lovely!

I have loved this Hardigree painting since I first saw it propped up in her bedroom half-done. Normally her paintings have to do with the spiritual link between human & animal but in “Sycamore” the tree is the star. The tree is the girl and the girl is the tree.

That sweater! I want its creamy goodness nestled in my nostrils.

And I could use it. Brr. It’s cold out. It snowed last night.Ah, the wonder of weather. Austin: Home of the weirdest weather ever.

I love you Carolina Hardigree!

I love you Austin!

I love you leaves. I love you snowflakes.

I miss you Toledo. It’s true. Sometimes I do.

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