Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bittersweet summer in Denver

Ana and I accepted jobs and moved overseas in the summer of 2009, six months after Mom passed. I was intent in continuing keeping contact with my Dad and thought creating a blog with writings and pictures would be the best way to keep him abreast of our adventures abroad. This blog was initially for him, that and the usual Sunday telephone call, and summer visits is how it has been for the past five years until a little over a month ago. He passed away in late July and this post has been waiting in the wing for some time. Even the simplest tasks such as pushing the publish button seemed impossible. Here is our Denver adventure. 

Our friend Andrew (Descendents/ALL soundman) hooked us up for Hardcore DEVO in Denver. While he was showing us back stage, Mark Mothersbaugh was goofing around with an oxygen tank running over Ana's foot. He eventually drove himself into a corner.  
You gotta love a band that brazenly  walks on stage  collectively sporting their own tour shirts. 
Set 2, a change of outfits.
Are we not men? 
In memory of Bob2 aka Bob Casale
Paid a visit to Matt Bischoff (Fluid/Frantix) to hand him a drawing I made for him. We had a nice long conversation about growing up skating and sneaking into punk shows. 
Ana's family came out for a visit. My dad loved hanging out with them. 
A visit to Larry's (Rocky Mountain Low, and Trash Is Truth) house was a must. I was in awe of Larry's record and flier collection.  
Ana thought we should all take a field trip to Hammonds. This is the place responsible for all the thick candy canes and Christmas candy. 
Type 2 Diabetes here we come. 
Working for the man. 
I think we sampled this in the car. And to think my parents thought I was crazy when I mixed chocolate, bacon, and potato chips together. 
Had to see what was at the Great Divide Brewery tap room. 
Duane from Wax Trax is still looking great. 
Hadn't seen Blair in quite awhile. We've been friends since high school. First time getting my hair cut from him. 
Sonny came out to Denver as well. We went to visit Val who just opened a record store-Chain Reaction in Lakewood. 
Getting some of the old crew back together. 
Mike Serviolo (IZ, Jux County, Elam, Peace Core, etc.) looking like Charles Bukowski in Safeway Supermarket. 
My old college roomie, Staci.
Keith, Colin, Sonny, and I remembering the old days.
Ben and I playing some pinball waiting for the Mentors to show up and play a book store. 
Longtime Denver punk promoter Jill Razor and I embarked on an urban adventure. We ran into Andrew Novick (Warlock Pinchers, etc) who was on a 3 week scavenger hunt looking for a clue to a hidden map that led to a golden nugget. 
Jill and I drove around looking at former buildings of where we used to go see punk shows. One was the Fun House in Five Points. It was our lucky day, we ran into someone who lived in the building and let us roam around. 
Outside the Fun House. 
Protecting one's investment. 
Artist Rebecca Vaughn and I went to school together, got to see her new space.
Too many nights at the Aztlan Theatre to remember. We had a running joke that went something like this. She told me to kiss her someplace dirty so I took her to the back of the Aztlan. As you can see it isn't falling apart anymore. The owner Tim and Aurora really did a nice job fixing up the place. 
Hanging out with Tim and Aurora. Tim is still the same, he asked Sonny and I if we wanted a beer and you figured that after all these years that this one would be on the house. He did make Sonny and I do a shot with him. He let that one slide. 
One of the upgrades Tim and family did was putting in a side bar. Their son said they were selling it hoping to fetch a couple of millions. 
No theatre is complete without a framed Bruce Lee poster. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp always sounded like a good idea, but of all the times we have been to Belgium we failed to commit to the idea of actually going there. This year would be different, we took the plunge. We can't say it was love at first sight. We arrived on a Monday when everything we wanted to see was closed. We felt aimless in a new place. Our gratitude for coming to appreciate Antwerp is largely due to our friend Michael, a person I met in Barcelona at an art education conference this past spring. Michael has been living in the city for almost 20 years and has an insider perspective we desperately sought. He turned us on to many things we would have otherwise missed had we relied on tourist maps and the internet. Thanks Michael. 
Caramella Mokatine is one of Antwerp's most famous candies. Think: coffee flavored toffee. We bunkered down near the factory. 
Stadspark has hippies, aspiring musicians, joggers, old men, a statue, creepy people in the bushes and this cool cockroach sticker on a light post. 
We stayed in Zurenborg about a block from Cogels-Osy Le, an area of Art Nouveau and end of the century houses. If only someone on Airbnb offered a room in one of them we could do more accurate reporting on the neighborhood. 
It was easy to take the long way just to slowly walk by and gaze at these magnificent structures. 
The practical side of me wanted to know the power and water bill at the end of the month. 
Sure, there was a diversity in styles. 
Ana checking out if this particular property will meet our need for space. 
City Hall in City Square is fine if you like flags dangling from buildings.
The innards of Cathedral of Our Lady. The big deal there is Peter Paul Rubens' triptych, The Raising of the Cross
If you fancy printed matter (fonts, typeface, prints, letter presses, etc) it is worth a trip to Plantin-Moretus Museum
This is what you can do with the equipment inside. 
Not to be confused with Pieter Bruegel the Elder Census at Bethlehem 1566. Years later, his son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger tried his hand at his own version, 14 versions to be exact. We saw this one at Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp (detail). For a much more detailed and interesting read on how the 14th version was found in east Africa (Rift Valley region-Ethiopia or Kenya) 400 years after the fact click here.
More from Museum Mayer van den Bergh.
Even the orphans get respect in Antwerp. Check out the Maagdenhuis Museum. Sadly the museum was closed on a Tuesday, nonetheless, we did get to wander the grounds and saw this interesting installation of how newborns were left at the orphanage. 
Central Station. 
Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp had a nice exhibition:  Don’t You Know Who I Am? – Art After Identity Politics. This included: Eloise Hawser, Velopex and 100 KEV  
We thought Maria Safronova's paintings of mental institution patients and the diorama of  the institution itself was the most thought provoking images of the show. 
Along the wall, also exhibited was the daily routines of the patients. 
Detail of Onkar Kular & Noam Toran's, I Cling to Virtue.
Detail of Onkar Kular & Noam Toran's, I Cling to Virtue. 
Size them up. Katja Novitskova, Approximation XIV, XVI and XVII 
Perhaps Ermias Kifleyesus explores social media. 
Anthea Hamilton, Leg Chairs. I'm thinking the one next to the blue wall wasn't part of the exhibit.
Pakistani artist, Imran Qureshi confronts the viewer with violence in his installation. And They Still Seek The Traces Of Blood.
There's never been an easy way to get on one of these. It takes awhile to load passengers and get the wheels spinning. 
A walk through the historic center. 
Michael has an artists studio in the old stock exchange building and was kind enough to give us a tour.  
The city rented out rooms in the building to help keep out junkies, squatters, and others from breaking in. 
One of the artists studios. 
We got to roam around quite a bit. 
Back in the day this room had to do with auctioning space on cargo ships. 
Thought it was a nice composition. 
There was a massive hail storm that shattered several windows a few weeks prior to our arrival. Most of it was cleaned up.  
The plan is to spend 500 million Euros to renovate the building into a hotel. Michael knows someone who thinks it will cost closer to a billion.

A pub that is sympathetic to Belgium's right wing movement. Michael told us not to enter, that we would be roughed up. 
This is near an area that metal heads and punks would hang out and drink. 
MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) is new on the art scene as of 2011. The concept of the space is conceptual, going for the total life experience.  
A view from the top of MAS.
A view from the top of MAS.
Michael and his family.