Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in the Neighborhood Labor Day Weekend

I went back to visit Horace and Christine and deliver pictures to them and their neighbors. Some pictures got delivered to friends and neighbors because I knew I didn't have time to keep looking. I also posted poems with pictures on the laundromat wall and talked to Xai about doing that  more in the future. She was open to it and her kids helped me put some of them up.

In the park I took some pictures of kids playing in a fountain and doing cartwheels down the street. I had the usual problem whey they approached me and asked me to take pictures.

"I need to talk to your parents first and make sure they are o.k. with it."

We walked a block down the street to get permission. Then they swarmed me with "me first, now me, take my picture, I want to be a model."
I had a hard time with wanting to keep them happy while also wanting them to take turns. At some point one cried and I felt rediculous.

Then another parent came over and asked me who I was, said she watched over all the kids in the neighborhood and wanted to know who I was. It was strange to say that I lived in Iowa now, made me wonder why I was back in Syracuse. I still feel connected, but having to verbalize the reality of the distance and say it would be some time before I could deliver pictures was hard.

"Maybe by Holloween I will be back."
Sometimes even when I lived in Syracuse the hospital swallowed my time and I had trouble getting things delivered in a timely manner. Sometimes the surprise of getting them later is o.k. and sometimes I lose people.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Masterworks of Ming

Kay Ryan

Ming, Ming
such a lovely
thing blue
and white

bowls and
basins glow
in museum

they would
be lovely
filled with
rice or

so nice
to dinner

or washing
a daughter

a small
of course
since it’s
a small basin

first you
would put
one then

the other
end in. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Poetry is Not a Luxury

The title of an essay by Audre Lourde published in Sister Outsider I read twenty years ago in college. I still remember the astonishment I felt at reading just the title. The idea that something as refined as poetry was essential struck a chord in me that reverberates still. The essential experience of beauty or joy in the expressive power of words.

Today I went in search of poems to post on the wall of the Laundromat. Thinking of all the children I watch walk home from school through the neighborhood, I wonder what awaits them from tender love to rough and tumble. This poem by Gwendolyn Brooks I thought should be among them.

 After School

Not all of the children
come home to cookies and cocoa.
Some come to crack cocaine.
Some come to be used in various manners.
One will be shot on his way home to warmth, wit and

One teacher mutter "My God, they are gone."
One is ripe to report Ten People to the Principal.
One muses "How have I served or disturbed today?"
One whispers "The little Black Bastards."
One sees all children as clothing: the blue blouse --
the green dress -- the tight-fitting T-shirt.

One will take home for homework each of the
twenty, the thirty, the forty one.

from In Montgomery and Other Poems 2003. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Iowa, the Interrupters, a short visit to Syracuse.

I'm in Iowa now and missing Syracuse.

I went to Chicago and saw the film the Interrupters, a documentary about the efforts of community residents and former gang members working towards reducing the violence in some of Chicago's neighborhoods.  Ceasefire is one of the organizations represented.  After watching the film and meeting Dr. Gary Slutkin, I was inspired to think again about what I want to do with the precious time I have here on the planet. I wish so that I had more clarity. Questions are my constant companion these days. My friends say I have too much time on my hands. How that can be in the throes of residency, I don't know.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hula in Madison

I'm away from Syracuse and missing home, but finding music and making new friends in the midwest.  Went up to see Greg Brown at Sugar Maple Music fest and made it just in time for the two encore songs. I figured it was better than nothing. Took this picture of a girl with her hula hoop and met Lewis Koch.  His Garageography show provides me with an interesting model for future shows.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Old Pictures, New Cuts

I've only two weeks in Syracuse full time before I head out to Iowa. I've been procrastinating on cleaning up my work space. Denial takes many forms. In the process of packing what I have so far, I've enjoyed sorting back through hard copies of photos as well as reorganizing a handful of digital files in a effort not to loose too much in the move. I came across these images from Gifford St a few years back. These kids went to Ed Smith with my kids, but lived across town. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Art Rage June 8th, 2011 @ 7 Pm

I'll be talking about the Lodi Laundromat Project tomorrow at 7:00 pm at Art Rage.  View from the street:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Who Came and What's Next?

I'm a happy, exhausted and still delivering pictures and  from the show to various families that didn't make it and to some who asked for extra copies. The neighborhood residents loved the event. I confess that I was worried that the people from the neighborhood would feel like outsiders  in their own place if too many people came from were not residents of the  neighborhood.

In the planning stages of the event we had talked about whether we should invite people from the larger Syracuse community or just make it by invitation only for people who lived around the laundry and on the north side. Ultimately, I decided that the show was in part about creating a space where people from outside of the neighborhood could experience the place in part as I had.

Dave from the auto store.
Yvonne from 690/Beech St. underpass.
Michael Ratner, Sue Stearns, Becky King, and Cindy Carter and her son, and Maggie Hargrave from CYO.
Phil and Mike from contra dance.
Christine from across the street and her daughter, and their neighbors and their kids.
Sadhia who cooked the Somali food and her daughter. 
The neighbors all around from Burma, Sudan, Vietnam, and the U.S. 
The owners and family came down from upstairs.
My family, Rebecca Garden, Matt Pottigher.
Folks from Art Rage and Lightwork.
Nana came with his drums and Aduke and her daughter Viv.

Doug D from SU came too,  and so did Senator DeFranciso, who apparently grew up in this neighborhood and John F. Sgromo, who recognized him. John's son Nicki came and brought Douglass too.  John Maggiore,  Marnie Hall and Kathy Goodman, and Domnic, and Stasya and Sara from Northside Up,  and Rachel and Sophie, Brendan, and Mark, and Joe McCarthy from M&Q.  Bre and Jason from Craft Chemistry and more.

Someone called the police, and they came, and then moved along disinterestedly.
And, there were people doing laundry too; the place remained open for business.

Xai and Mike said they want to do it next year too. I'm trying to figure out how to make that possible. I've talked to Horace and Christine about getting them involved and also to John Sgromo and Maggie and to Stasya to see if they can help with some of the on the ground work.

In the meantime, Art Rage has put the pictures in their window for the month of June so you can see a selection of the work there.

Wednesday, June 8th at 7pm, I'll be talking about the project and my hopes for the next iteration, which John Sgromo, Guru of N. Salina St,  says he will gladly help with.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Event Photos by Mindy Terry

I think I had more fun than I've had in a long time, said Xai, one of the owners who lives over the business, who stayed out in the parking lot cleaning up after all the food got eaten and the tent came down and Nana packed his drums into the van.  What pleased me most was the diversity of people in attendance. A big thanks goes out to everyone who helped make it possible, including Stasya, Dominic, Jason, Bre, Brendan, Marc, Maggie, Rich, Xai, Reth, Mike, Sadia, Mar Jorie, John, Jack and Kathy Goodman. The list could go on, but I'll stop there.

Here is a sampling of photos taken by Mindy Terry who taught me a thing or two last year and who has encouraged me along the way.  As usual, I couldn't resist dancing to Nana's drums.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show Time

Today at 6:30 the "party" begins.  The women across the street are making chai tea. There will be lots to sample including pizza from the Italian place down the block to Somali stuffed dumplings. Yesterday, I hung the inside show with my daughter Isabel and two of her friends, Orla and Lauren. There was a lot of interest from the people there. Here is a preview of the inside view. The outside will be hung today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Printing and Organizing for the Show

Just four days to go and rain in the forecast. As long as it doesn't snow, I think I can take the weather in stride.
In this post are a couple of inside views of how I'm laying out the pictures for the show. My third floor isn't  exactly a production studio, but it works for me.

I have the usual temptation to avoid the tedious task of getting organized by continuing to take pictures. Here's a recent one from the street corner opposite the laundry where this Burmese couple paused before crossing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Announcement: two week count down to the show in the laundromat.

So, it's actually going to happen. Somehow I managed to get myself into this rather interesting situation. It all started as a playful conversation with the owner of the laundry about a year ago. Xai and her husband Rath, have agreed to let us take over for a day, have food, show pictures, play music.

 It's just one evening, May 19th from 6:30 to 8:30. There will be food prepared by a Somali woman and a woman from Thailand. There may be music too, but I'm still working out the details with Nana, the African drummer I photographed at Ghanian food store about a year ago. 
I'm done taking pictures. The last free friends and family photo day was two weeks ago. Now I'm busy printing pictures and will be working madly on how to display them for the next week and a half.

It promises to be an interesting event, if only because some of the people at the show may be there trying to do their laundry. Here is the announcement. If you have questions or inquiries, feel free to e-mail me at

Hope you can come.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Leamae Katrina at Whiz Burgers

At the end of the day of walking through the mission district and chasing the pink bag, I was parched and  stopped at the Whiz Burger joint next to a old church, old for California anyway. And there, sitting at one of the picnic tables was Leamae Katrina.    He was patiently sorting out a few of his clothes, picking some lint from a sweater.

I fell into conversation with him, first asking if he'd gotten sun burned, then where he was from then where he'd gotten those blue eyes of his.

Beat up.
California, forever.
Eyes from the sky, like bird eggs.
Found playing marbles,  picked them up. 

Then, the ask: Can I take your picture?
Sure, sent it general delivery: Poste Restante,  San Francisco.

Trucks, Murals..Lybia Women Have Guns???

 There's a very active mural culture in San Francisco. The Mission District is especially well known, and some time I'd like to explore more. It's easy to find because it's everywhere. Some of the messages are more transparent, like Slime Time, but Lybia Women Have Guns?? No doubt, it's a reference to some pop culture phenomenon that I haven't had time to tune into.  Any volunteers to enlighten me? Bring it on.