Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hybrid Theater Works Artists Response Forum: Built to Spill!

Roar! Sunday night was the first night of Hybrid Theatre Works' Monthly Artists Response Forum. The idea is that each month a group of artists will respond to a major current event. This month's topic was the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I was asked to make a film for the event so I came up with this heavy-clawed film noir starring me, my friend Hippo, and my girlfriend Giraffe. It's called "T-Rex P.I. in: Built to Spill!" Take a look at the finished film below!
Overall the event went really well and my movie was pretty well received! There was great write-up of the event over on the local blog, BushwickBK, and you can read all about it there! I can't wait to find out what the next topic will be and start next month's film! Roar!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A visit to Fresh Kills Park

Roar! Yesterday I went to my second to last Key to the City location... and Giraffe came with me! After out fight last week I told her I only had two places left to visit, and the next place I was going was Fresh Kills Park on the 25th. It isn't exacly a romantic place, and certainly not my first choice for a date, but Giraffe said she didn't care. We left that morning to go out to Staten Island and see what was once the largest landfill in the city. 
Here is our tour guide, Doug, who is briefing us on the bus on the way to the park. Doug is a pretty cool guy, he was really proud of what they've managed to do with the site and what the park will be when they're finished. Though when someone asked him if he was from Staten Island he did have to admit he was from my neck of the woods in Brooklyn. Roar!
As soon as our bus arrived at the top of the North Mound, Doug got the Key to the City lock out of the way...
Woah! Turned out that box held this sweet set of binoculars! If we come to any crossroads on this tour it will be good to have these 'nocks on me! Actual viewing wasn't that great, though, seeing that the weather was pretty rainy yesterday. Roar...
Here I am with Giraffe on top of the North Mound. We are sitting 200 feet above sea level on a hill made entirely of trash from New York City! The story behind Fresh Kills is pretty amazing, amazing and horrifying! The city of New York used to just dump all its trash inthe ocean, then when the Supreme Court finally said this wasn't ok, everyone's favorite city planner, Robert Moses, stepped in and chose Fresh Kills as the site for the city's new landfill. For over 50 years Fresh Kills took the city's trash and what was once flat wetlands are now 200 foot tall hills of garbage! Roar!
Here I am looking at one of the many methane pumps on the North Hill. As the garbage beneath decomposes methane is released. It's collected at these pumps and then burned off as "clean" energy. I think that's pretty neat! Roar!
Here Giraffe is taking in the post-apocalyptic scenery up on the North Hill. Maybe T-Rex and the Shadowy Way will write a song about it! Roar!
Roar! Here is the plant where they burn off a bunch of the excess methane gas! Who ever smelt it dealt it guys! Roar!
Next we headed on over to the South Mound. On the way there we passed through what was left of all the wetlands that used to occupy this area. They are working hard to preseve whats left and even have an osprey nesting here! Here you can see the osprey nest buts it's kind of hard to make out the bird in it. Roar!
Roar! Here I am up on the South Mound. You can see one of the waste processing plant in the background. Apparently it's also the tallest building on Staten Island. I wonder what the view is like from up there?
Here are Giraffe and I together on the South Mound. We had a really fun time visiting Fresh Kills Park together. It's really impressive what they're doing with the site and it's clear to me that when the park is completed it will definitely be the nicest park in New York City! Roar!
On the way out of the park we passed this lone dump truck. I just read a report the other day about 14 of these babies that were stolen from a yard somewhere out here in Staten Island! I'm glad they didn't get this one! Roar!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Trials of Inter-Species Romance

roar... Giraffe and I had a fight recently. It all started because she saw this girl's blog about visiting the Key to the City locations. She was mad that I hadn't done any of them with her and said we didn't spend enough time together! I told Giraffe I had emailed Lauren about her going on a double date with Giraffe and me but Lauren said that just because she'd go on a date with a girl didn't mean she was into inter-species dating. Giraffe said that was no excuse and we could have gone out together anyways and to top it off I didn't know a thing about mammals! It was a pretty bad fight. roar... 

Giraffe was right though. Even though I was dating one I really didn't know all that much about mammals. So I decided in order to make it up to Giraffe I needed to change that!
Here I am way down in Chinatown on my way to Saint James Church to visit the Ancient Order of Hibernians. If anyone can tell me about mammals it has to be them!
Here I am in frot of the church. Since it's an ancient, secret order I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside. The Hibernians were really helpful though, even though they weren't exactly sure why I came to them they told me that besides hibernation, which, apparently, only some mammals do, mammals give birth to live young, drink dairy products, grow hair on their bodies to keep warm, and females have these things called "mammary glands." Talk about strange!

Since mammals give birth to live young I decided to head over to one Brooklyn neighborhood that I heard has a rampant baby population, Park Slope!

Here I am down in Park Slope. It was so crazy, there were babies everywhere! I must have seen over five hundred of them! The Hibernians may have told me that mammals gave birth to live young but these kids all seemed to have designer plastic eggs on wheels! I guess maybe we aren't so different after all. Roar!

Next, I headed over to my local supermarket to try and change up my diet.
Roar! So much to choose from! Whole? 2%? 1%? Skim? Soy? This is a lot more complicated than I thought. I just want to drink some milk!
Finally, after a series of tough decisions, I finally "Got" some milk. Roar!

Next, I had to learn about hair. Luckily for me someone had already written a musical on the subject so I went on down to the local thrift store to pick up a copy to listen to.
I didn't learn anything from this! Roar!

Lastly I need to learn about mammary glands. Apparently they're something that female mammals have and is unique to the gender. It turns out that this past weekend there was a topless rights march in Central Park so I went on over to see what these mammary glands were all about.
Here I am with a couple of the female human mammals at the topless rights march. It turns out it's against the law in most places for female human mammals to go topless! Luckily, here in NYC it's been legal since 1992 but not many people know this. The march is to help raise awareness of the issue and garner support for the cause in other states. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is, male and female dinosaurs go topless all the time and no one ever seemed to mind. All other mammals also go topless and no one cares, I guess humans are just really prudish! Roar!
What ended up being really strange about the march is it was sponsored by this group called the Raelians. Turns out they believe that human beings were created in the image of aliens from Rael and it's shameful to cover up the perfection of their creators. Now I'm really confused! I guess humanity isn't really the best example to go by when trying to learn about mammals! Roar!

That was the end of my week. When I next saw Giraffe I told her about how I spent my week trying to learn about mammals and how I learned how being a mammal was a lot more complicated than I had originally thought. She was really touched by the all the effort I'd put in and said it was ok if I didn't completely understand mammals so long as I made the effort to try! Roar!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sweet Collage Days in Brooklyn

Roar! I was rummaging around my room and realized I still had all the collages I made last October that I failed to sell on Bedford Ave. I figured it would be fun to hang them up in places around Brooklyn as pieces of street art! The collages were all about celebrating the impermament nature of the city so I thought it would be nice to try and contrast some of my old scenes of Brooklyn with their modern day counterparts.
I hung this picture of a Brooklyn rail yard over by the Morgan Ave subway stop. This is the same place I hung some of my previous street art.
I put this scene of old Brooklyn up outside Roberta's over on Moore Street. I figured it would serve as a reminder of more crinoline days! Roar!
This collage of overbuilt, downtown Brooklyn I put up on a shipping warehouse on Johnson Street.
Roar! I put this scene of all the cool Brooklyn kids partying in the 1980's up in front of 3rd Ward. I'm pretty sure this is what goes on in there every night!
This picture of people break dancing downtown I hung up over on Union Street in Williamsburg. I still see this kind of stuff happening all the time over there!
The picture of old McCarren Park Pool I put up outside of the pool, which is currently undergoing renovation. I think it's fun to look at all the different uses this area has had over the years. From ice skating to swimming to concerts, and now, once the construction is done, back to swimming. It really makes you think about the nature of change in the city! Roar!
The collage of the pigeon at the owl bar on Barry Street I actually ended up hanging up over on Wythe Street across from a building that looked pretty similar. I was trying to find a place on Barry but it's mostly ugly condos now. Roar...
I tried to put this old scene of the Williamsburg Bridge in a place where it would be at the same viewing angle but that's pretty much impossible thanks to the BQE. It sure is crazy to see how this area has been transformed by the highway system. 
I put this collage of the construction of the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, now One Hanson Place, over on Schermerhorn street where there is a nice view of the tower!
The picture of the old Fulton Street Rocket Train I hung up right on the corner of Fulton and Adams in downtown Brookyln. It's crazy to see what a mess of overhead tracks this neighborhood used to be. While it's a lot more open now it would still be nice if there were actually trains that ran here from other parts of Brooklyn.  Especially rocket trains!
I put the diptych I made of the cockfight between Williamsburg and DUMBO up on the wall of a warehouse underneath the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. It looked great up on the wall and should help serve as a reminder to how this area used to be before it became so hip. Roar! 

I had a lot of fun putting all these pictures up around north Brooklyn. I know they won't be up for long but I feel that they really embrace the impermanent nature of street art. When you've been around as long as I have you learn you just need to enjoy it while it lasts! Roar!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Joe Holzka Community Garden and Buddhist Viarha

Roar! Today I rode my bike out to Staten Island to visit a couple more Key to the City Locations. First I headed over to the Joe Holzka Community Garden and then I rode to the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara.
Here I am outside of the Joe Holza Community Garden. It looks pretty nice! Let's go inside and check it out!
Roar! It sure is nice in here! The site for this garden used to be the old Plaza Casino. After it burned down the lot remained vacant for years until they established the sweet garden here.
My key opened the gate to the this sweet gazebo in the garden. It sure was nice and shady inside. This would be a pretty cool place to come and hang out if I actually lived anywhere near here.
There was also this mystery box on the table inside of the Gazebo. It had all these sweet oragami pieces inside of it! I decided to leave a few stickers for the next visitors to Gazebo. I hope they like it! Roar!
I took this neat looking paper hat to give to Giraffe. I wonder what she'll think of it?

Roar! The Joe Holzka Community Garden was pretty cool! I wonder what awaits me at the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara?
Here I am in front of the Vihara. It's a pretty neat looking place. It turns out this is the only Sri Lankan Buddhist center in the city.
My key opened this gate to the back garden. Back there they had an actual Bodhi tree growig in a pot! Bodhi trees arn't suited to our climate and the monks told me they needed to take it inside during the winter! Roar!
Inside the center they had all these really pretty lotus blossom lamps hanging from the ceiling. They also had this really awesome Buddha statue I got to meditate in front of. The monks at the center were all super friendly and said it was really nice to have a T-Rex come to visit the center. As a dinosaur I really like a bunch of the ideas in Buddhsim, particularly the stuff about impermanence, but I sure would make a terrible Buddhist seeing how much I like meat!
I threw up a sticker on the sign at the end of the street across from the Vihara. It sure was a lot of fun to come out here to Staten Island and check out these couple places. I bet there is a lot more to discover out here! Maybe next time I'll bring Giraffe along with me. Roar!