The steamrolling weeks continue, but there have been some highpoints. (I also want to acknowledge the passing of pioneers Lena Horne and Dorothy Height, two strong, smart, beautiful, visionary black women whose courage, determination and grace have made so very much possible for all who follow in their footsteps.)
On Wednesday, Nathalie Stephens/Nathanael, whom I'd seen read last Saturday at Las Manos Gallery's Uncalled-For Reading Series (photos coming!), with Kareem Khubchandani (a grad student at the university, working with the brilliant E. Patrick Johnson), and Trish Bendix, came to speak to my class about her remarkable recent book, Absence Where As: Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book (Nightboat Books, 2009), which was revelatory in so many ways. Then, right after class concluded, I went to M. Nourbese Philip's reading, which was sponsored by the university's Poetry and Poetics Working Group and the Humanities Center. She read/performed--quite extraordinarily, I testify--from her recent work, Zong! (as told to her by Setaey Adamu Boateng) (UPNE, 2008), which I believe the UniVerse of Poetry and Chicago Public Radio audiotaped, meaning that it will be available very soon, I hope. On Thursday afternoon, she participated in a conversation sponsored and attended by members (students, faculty) of the Poetry and Poetics Working Group and scholars from outside the university. It was as Barbara Tucker sang: I got lifted.
Amidst everything else, I've been trying to funnel my artistic yearnings into something productive, which has meant a bit of sketching whenever I can. Below are some very recent drawings. A certain developer I know very well (Mr. C-thank you!) passed on a first generation iPad, so I've been trying that out too, though I haven't figured out if the iPhone drawing app I like, Sketchbook, is fully functional, especially with layers. I'll post some of those soon. Miriam asked in a previous comment whether I completed these all at once, and I'd say that I usually finish the monochrome ones fairly quickly, but with the full-color ones I tend to get as much done as I can the first pass through, then I return to work with them a bit more. I also tried a few different styles this time through, as will be evident. The fastest drawing of this group is the one of Gerard Cadava (a colleague in history), at his father's talk. I was taking notes assiduously, so as soon as I found a lull of sorts, I sketched him, then returned to my note-taking. The base pen tool color was blue, so that's what I went with. The two black-and-white drawings are the first I've ever done in one pass, while standing (I was waiting in line at a restaurant, so I drew people standing right near me). And then there are the drawings of the artists: Cristina (I haven't shown this to her yet), Chris Ware, and Anders Nilsen. If I can get the latter two figures email addresses, I think I'll forward them directly.
Drawing from today
Drawing from today
Chris Ware (did you ever wonder what he looked like?)