Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Art spaces

This morning I attended a business roundtable discussion hosted by Flashpoint, at Conner Contemporary (which is an incredible art space -- go visit if you haven't yet). I missed the first 20 minutes, since I decided to run a real time scenario on how much taking public transportation to H Street NE sucks red hot ass, but I managed to catch a lot of interesting discussion.

Philippa Hughes, Jayme McLellan and Karyn Miller led the talk, and it would probably be easiest for me to say that I usually agree with everything the three of these very smart ladies say. When discussing temporary art spaces and how to approach developers and managers, Philippa brought up the excellent point that it's important to talk in their language and focus on how hosting a show might benefit them. We can talk about the intangible benefits of art to a community and even how, long-term, artists change neighborhoods, but that's not going to convince a storefront owner with a $6000/month rent going unpaid to host your sculptures for free because one day, far from now, it might make him feel good. It's not a business person's job to "better the community," it's their job to make money, and it's the art community's job to succeed in the former by focusing on the latter. If anything, the intangible and long-term benefits of art is the ace up our sleeve. The attention and $$ we can bring businesses this weekend are our cards on the table.

There was a lot of interesting talk about how this common ground might be found, and some developers and BID members were there to bring some good points to the table about consolidating efforts through initiatives like "condominium-izing" gallery spaces, particularly when many galleries feel the rug being pulled out from under them over and over as rents rise and landlords seek tenants with deeper pockets. We also talked about forums to pair available spaces with art groups, like one the Cultural Development Corporation houses.

The obvious dysfunction is that these talks go on and then nothing tangible happens. What will it take to get arts orgs in town working together, focusing on the right priorities, and doing it in a way that's palatable to people with a bigger bottom line to worry about?


Time to give TTtC its yearly dose of CPR. So many random, strange, awesome things have happened the past year, I'm feeling a little constrained by the 140 character updates, so I thought we'd give the blog another whirl. I feel reinvigorated by my recent dip back into the space pool and excited by all the goings on with Ten Miles Square, but I don't write nearly enough anymore (unless you count my temporary editorship at DCist in May, which is a whole other kind of panic-fear-writing-for-your-life).

Today I swung a press seat to the grossly sold out lecture at the Air and Space Museum featuring the Apollo 11 astronauts and Chris Kraft, founder of Mission Control. The lecture is next month, but I'd like some place to talk about it afterwards that doesn't consist of Twitter "OMG"s. So off we go. One more time!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grandma joins the internet

Oh ho, just kidding, it's only me. After signing up for Twitter eight months ago and promptly abandoning it, something strange came over me last night and I decided to give it a go. Maybe my love affair with Flickr was waning and I needed a new digital high, or maybe I was in agony knowing that there were people out there who wouldn't know instantly about the giant bug I just saw in my kitchen. Why wouldn't you want to know, right?

So you can now follow me where ever I may go, reading every observation I make, as I, um, tweet my way along under heathermg. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today on the radio

You can listen in today to hear me and Lenny Campello from Daily Campello Art News on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, 88.5 FM. We'll be talking about what's going on these days in the art world and good shows you should check out. We should be on around 1 or 1:30 pm.

Call or email in with questions for us: (800) 433-8850 or

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Turn Me On (All Week Long)

Well hey. After abandoning the dredges of humanity in Vegas, I seem to be on an upswing. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to host a live chat with the fine people at, in lieu of my renovation column this week. Tune in tomorrow to watch me answer readers' burning questions about construction loans, kitchen cabinets, and managing my own little superbowl team of contractors. You're just gonna be sitting there eating lunch anyway, right?

The good Prince at PoP mentioned it on his site today -- and of course, he's the one who started all this craziness when he interviewed me last winter. A commenter joked that I've turned myself into renovator of the year, which, yeah. Judging by how much HGTV I used to watch, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people find the renovation work interesting, but, whatever, I'm still totally surprised that people think my little ol' project is fascinating. I even have a small handful of new email friends, who've contacted me from PoP or Washingtonian asking for advice, and now we all regularly trade tips. What a strange little world this is.

Oh, which reminds me, if all goes well (and it will, right?), my kitchen will be done at the end of Friday. What's that? Yeah, I said DONE. DONE DONE DONE. Finito. Nada mas. Zip. (Okay, except for the painting.) Contractors are coming Wednesday to prep for the counters, the counter guys come Thursday, and the contractors come back Friday to install the sink/dishwasher/garbage disposal. WAAAAAHOOOOO.

One more very important thing: Today I got an email from a producer at the Kojo Nnamdi Show. Yeah, that one! Lenny, a frequent guest, threw my name out when they were looking to fill guest spots for their next local arts discussion. Check it out Thursday, either at noon or 1 (they haven't picked yet), at 88.5 FM.

Vegas Fin: Liveblogging from DCA baggage claim #12

So let's just say this about me and Vegas:

Not once did I get to cash out when I left a table. Roulette, slots, blackjack, you name it. My mom, who last month won five grand during her slot tournament, was 500 down this time. After she walked me to the taxi stand last night as I headed to the airport to leave sin city, she stopped by the slots to pull a few on the way back to her room. She won 800 dollars on the third pull.

So if you were wondering if you should rub my head for anything, I'd just advise against it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vegas Day 3, Liveblogging from the pool

So let's talk about Elton John. I have to say, not being a real active fan of the man, that was a pretty sweet concert. When we arrived we discovered it was his 200th performance in Vegas, which meant we were all treated to free feather boas to wear through the show, and which delighted my mother to no end (she'd seen one earlier at the gift shop, squealed, and vowed to buy one after the show). At least, they were pretty sweet until we left and realized they had molted all over us.

The music was accompanied by a pretty awesome display of films by David LaChapelle and giant blow up suggestive friuts and/or explicit body parts (pleased to refer you to Flickr), including the largest blow up stripper the world has ever seen. The films were largely modern/interpretive dance which was, let's be honest, a little gay. Except the film for Someone Saved My Life Tonight, which was spectacularly, amazingly gay. Like rainbows and fairy boy angels and unicorns gay. It was also the point at which we graduated from plain ol' naked fake titties everywhere to straight up flaming vag. Literally. Flaming.

No encore though, which is unfortunate. My mother had a blast, especially since it was essentially a tribute to the early 70's (and peace and protests for civil rights and hooray women and gays!), and so in addition to the bright orange tie-dye shirt she got for the hippie theme of her monthly slot tournament (for real, more on that later), and her neo-peacenik mentality generally, means this particular Vegas trip has been right up her alley.

Okay, back to the water to cool off.

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